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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Car Bombing Outside British Embassy in Tehran

Aired March 31, 2003 - 14:32   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We told you just a few moments ago about a car explosion or car bomb outside the British embassy in Tehran, the Iranian capital.
Let's go quickly to CNNI, CNN International correspondent Shirzad Bozorgmehr. She is with us on the phone. Shirzad, can you hear me?

SHIRZAD BOZORGMEHR, CNNI CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Judy.

About over an hour ago local -- there was an explosion in Tehran at the gates of the British embassy. There was a car that eyewitnesses said was full of gasoline cans and was driving slowly around the area of the embassy and then either caught fire before it rammed into the gate or rammed the gate first and then caught fire.

The driver is reportedly dead, but we don't know of any other casualties so far. There could not be too many casualties because it's late at night here. The embassy is closed. But the guard house is located right behind the gate that was the target of the car, apparently. And there could possibly be more casualties, but we don't know at this stage -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Shirzad, we hear you speaking about possible casualties. How much security would there be around the British embassy right now?

BOZORGMEHR: Like any other embassy, the Iranian government provides soldiers that guard the embassy, but I don't think they could have prevented this because a car that just drives through and just rams the gate, there isn't much that anybody could do.

At this stage, it's hard to say what exactly happened. But the eyewitnesses said that this car had been driving around for awhile before the actual fire and the actual ramming of the gate. And the unusual thing about it, one eyewitness said, was that the car was painted all over by slogans, various slogans. He could not identify what the slogans were, but he said it looked very unusual for a car to be -- to have writings on it like that and be driving around -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. CNN International correspondent Shirzad Bozorgmehr reporting on this incident in -- at the British embassy in Tehran, where evidently a car -- you just heard him describe it -- crashed into the gate or blew up before it did, carrying cans of gasoline.

We know the driver was killed. We're still trying to determine if there were other casualties at the same time. Iran, of course, being a next door neighbor to Iraq, a country that was at war with Iraq but is now showing some sympathy for Iraq during this time of U.S. coalition war.

Wolf, back to you.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Judy. Just a further -- a little more information we're getting in on that incident from the Reuters news agency. They're pointing out that there have been extensive anti-war demonstrations around the British embassy over the past three days. A few hundred Iranians protesting Britain's involvement in the war. Of course, there is no -- there is no U.S. embassy in Tehran. As a result, they're protesting around the British embassy. We'll continue to monitor that situation.

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