In the wake of Tuesday's clash in Tehran, in which students rioted and then raided the British Embassy compound, the United Kingdom has closed its embassy to Iran and is withdrawing its diplomatic staff.
British leaders demanded that Iran reciprocate and close its embassy in London. British officials gave Iran 48 hours to withdraws its diplomats from the United Kingdom. The row marks the worst turn in relations between the two countries since the Shah was deposed in 1979.
"If any country makes it impossible for us to operate on their soil they cannot expect to have a functioning embassy here," U.K Foreign Secretary William Hague said, according to the BBC.
Hague also said there was some degree of "regime consent" in the attack on Tuesday, the first time an official has said aloud what many have believed: that the Iranian rulers had orchestrated or at the very least encouraged the riot that led to the breach at the embassy.
Iranian officials have apologized for the incident, somewhat uncharacteristically, and said the raid, which included an attack on a second British compound in Tehran as well, was the product of a small number of protesters.
The United States, the European Union and the United Nations all condemned the attack and demanded that Iran do more to safeguard embassies on its territory. In the wake of the attacks, Italy said it was considering shuttering its embassy in Tehran as well.
The Iranians were protesting tough new sanctions imposed by the United Kingdom in response to Iran's continuing nuclear program. Iran insists their nuclear program is used only for peaceful purposes.