Bloomberg News

Obama Condemns Storming of British Embassy in Tehran

November 29, 2011

(Updates with Obama and Rutte quotes, meeting agenda beginning in second paragraph.)

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama said the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran is unacceptable and he called on the Iranian government to take “definitive” action “very quickly” against those responsible.

“For rioters essentially to be able to overrun the embassy and set it on fire is an indication that the Iranian government is not taking its international obligations seriously,” Obama said as he began a meeting with Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands at the White House today.

Obama also said protecting diplomatic outposts is “a basic international obligation that all countries need to observe.”

The remarks were the first by the president since Iranian protesters stormed the embassy calling for “death to the U.K.” and burning the British flag. The violence came a week after the U.S. and Britain imposed more sanctions on Iran over its nuclear development program.

The U.S. doesn’t have an embassy in Iran. The U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Iran after students seized its embassy in November 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

The agenda for the meeting with Rutte included discussion about the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

Debt Crisis

“It’s the intention of my government to keep the eurozone intact, keep the euro intact, to fight the debt crisis and at the same time get growth and job growth going again in the European Union,” Rutte told reporters.

The talks also focused on expansion of trade and investment between the two countries and preparations for the 2012 North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in May in Chicago.

Rutte said he came to the U.S. to discuss “jobs, jobs and jobs.” He said the Netherlands is responsible for 625,000 U.S. jobs and that U.S. investment in the Netherlands exceeds the U.S. investment in Brazil, Russia, India and China combined.

The Netherlands is the ninth largest export market for American goods and the third largest investor in the U.S., according to the administration.

--With assistance from Roger Runningen in Washington. Editors: Joe Sobczyk, Don Frederick

To contact the reporter on this story: Margaret Talev in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at

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