Iran: Econ forced UK to close Council

‘Iran advises Britain not to politicize the closure of the British Council in Tehran, as the decision to close the center was made by London.

“Although the British Council had no permit to work in Iran, and there was no mention of such a council in the British Embassy’s protocol, nevertheless, Tehran did not prevent the center’s activities,” government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham told reporters in Tehran Saturday.

He added that while economic problems had forced the British to close the council, they were now politicizing the issue and claiming Iran closed the center.

Last week the British Embassy in Tehran announced the suspension of all cultural activities in Iran, claiming pressure from Iranian authorities had prompted the decision.

The British Council claims that the office of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad summoned some of its Iranian staff and indirectly asked them to “resign from their posts”.

British Council chief executive Martin Davidson maintains that the “unacceptable” behavior of Iranian authorities has caused 16 of the center’s employees to hand in their resignation.

In his Saturday remarks, Elham touched upon the issue and said every country can expect to see its citizens respect the decisions and policies that its government implements.

While officially an independent non-profit charity, the British Council, which reopened in Tehran in 2001, receives a large part of its funding from Britain’s Foreign Office.’ Now we all know what THAT means.



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