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William Hague said Iran’s nuclear programme was a long-term concern. Photograph: Sang Tan/AP
Foreign secretary says he will push for further action at EU meeting following the attack on the British embassy in Tehran
The foreign secretary, William Hague, will call for an “intensification of sanctions” against Iran when he meets his EU counterparts to discuss its nuclear programme, but denied there would be retaliation for Monday’s attack on the British embassy in Tehran.

Hague could push for oil sanction imports as part of a package of punitive measures, having already severed ties with Iran’ s bank and parliament, the Majli

s.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said any course of action agreed would relate to Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons programme and not to the storming of its diplomatic buildings.

“These are not measures that are in reaction to our embassy. There has been a range of other reactions to that.

Our long-term concern is, of course, the nuclear programme, the danger that poses to the peace

of the Middle East and the wider world, the threat of proliferation spreading to other countries in the region. It is for that reason we will agree, I hope, today to intensify European sanctions on Iran.”

Hague also accused Iran of supporting repression in Syria as he entered the foreign ministers’ meeting, telling reporters “There is a link between what is happening in Iran and what is happening in Syria.”

In a House of Commons statement on Wednesday, Hague said: “If any country makes it impossible for us to operate on their soil they cannot expect to have a functioning embassy here.

This does not amount to the severing of diplomatic relations in their entirety.

It is action that reduces our relations with Iran to the lowest level consistent with the maintenance of diplomatic relations.”

He has issued a deadline for the Iranian embassy in London to close and for all its staff to leave the UK. He also used the Commons statement to confirm the closure of Britain’s embassy in Tehran and the evacuation of all its staff.

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