10 February 2010
About 100 Iranians have staged a violent protest in front of the Italian Embassy in Tehran, shouting "Death to Italy, Death to Berlusconi", and pelting eggs and tomatoes against the building. Protests were also held outside the French and Dutch embassies. The Italian government lodged an official complaint with Iran.
Iranian media reported that students supporting the regime demonstrated against what they called the "interference of the West in Iran's internal affairs", including its support for the Iranian opposition. The students reportedly waved Iranian flags, held pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his predecessor, Ayatollah Khomeini, and shouted "Death to America" and "Death to Britain." Some also called for the killing of French President Nicolas Sarkozy
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini condemned the protests and said the protestors were not regular Iranian citizens but members of the government-backed Besij militia, which is linked to the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. "About 100 Besij members, dressed as ordinary people, tried to attack the Embassy," Frattini told Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Last week, Italy had announced that it would cut back on its trade with Iran because of Tehran’s nuclear program.
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