European Union Officials Consider Removing All 27 Ambassadors from Iran
PARIS — Iran courted new levels of post-election isolation from the European Union on Wednesday as European diplomats pondered whether to withdraw the ambassadors of all 27 members nations in a dispute over the detention of the British Embassy’s local personnel.
European diplomats said that no formal decision to order their envoys home had been taken but that the measure was an option under consideration as the European Union — Iran’s biggest trading partner — tries to work out how to defuse the dispute in a way that would shield other embassies in Tehran from similar action.
Withdrawing all 27 ambassadors would represent a rare and unusually forceful display of European anger at Iran’s behavior, and several diplomats said the European Union would prefer to avoid it. Diplomats in Europe said they could not recall such concerted action by the entire, expanded bloc.
The initial Iranian response seemed characteristically bellicose. A high-ranking military official demanded that the Europeans apologize for interference in Iran’s affairs, which, he said, disqualified European countries from negotiating on the fraught issue of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.