By now you have heard that the British Embassy in Tehran was over-run by crowds. This is a major, major breach of international diplomatic protocol. Simply put, foreign embassies should be protected by the government of the country’s government. If the Iranian government is seen to have any hand in these protests–or, more likely, if they did not do their part to stop rioters from entering the compound–it could have big ramifications for Iran internationally.

Right now, Iran is walking a very tight rope. Since the latest IAEA report demonstrated an Iran’s ongoing commitment to a nuclear program, western countries have imposed a number of bi-later (and in the case of the EU, multi-lateral) sanctions on Iran, including its banking sector.  So far, attempts to impose global sanctions have fallen short because China and Russia seem somewhat unwilling to go as far as the West in punishing Iran.

The kind of blatant disregard of one of the pillars of international consular relations that was on display in Tehran today may yet nudge China and Russia closer to abstaining from a future sanctions vote. What to watch now is for statements from China and Russia.  So far, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s twitter feed and website is mum on the matter. I haven’t seen anything from the Chinese either.  Stay tuned.

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