Iran summons British envoy over Syria criticism

Sunday 11/12/2016
Iran\'s involvement in Syria is no secret

TEHRAN - Iran summoned the top British diplomat in Tehran for the second time this month to complain about criticism of its actions in Syria, state television reported on Saturday.

The move came after British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called in the Russian and Iranian ambassadors in London on Thursday to express his "profound concern" over their countries' role in the "suffering" of the people of Aleppo.

"Following the ill-considered statements and positions of British officials concerning the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Syrian crisis, the British charge d'affaires was summoned to the ministry of foreign affairs to receive the protest," a statement published by state broadcaster IRIB said.

A charge d'affaires was summoned as ambassador Nicholas Hopton is currently out of the country.

Iran has provided substantial military and financial support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and played a key role in overwhelming rebel forces in Aleppo over the past month.

Tensions between Tehran and London have mounted just three months after the two countries restored full diplomatic relations.

It was only a week ago that Iran summoned Hopton to complain after Prime Minister Theresa May told Gulf allies that Britain would help "push back against Iran's aggressive regional actions".

The two countries severed diplomatic relations in 2011 when protesters stormed the embassy in Tehran, angry over Britain's role in sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear programme.

They restored relations following a nuclear deal between Iran and major powers last year.