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British embassy storming bares rift in Iran elite


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The storming of the British Embassy in Tehran has bared a rift in Iran's ruling elite with conservative hardliners pushing Iran towards global isolation as they maneuver for the upper hand over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ahead of elections in 2012.

Britain closed its embassy after Tuesday's incursion by hardline youth and expelled all Iranian diplomats from London. The fallout for Tehran spread when several other countries recalled their envoys, including France and Germany.

The assault occurred a few days after the hardline-dominated parliament passed a bill obliging the government to downgrade Britain's diplomatic status and expel its ambassador in reprisal for fresh sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear activity.

Western diplomats and some local analysts believe the embassy raid was quietly orchestrated by hardline isolationist elements of Iran's factionalized power structure loyal to the clerical supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


Iran seems to be between a rock and a hard place. Regime change is their only option, but which faction will succeed Mahmoud?
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