London, June 23 (ANI): The ongoing violence in Iran is forcing families of British embassy staff to leave the country.
At least 12 relatives were packing bags last night.
The British Foreign Office has advised its nationals to avoid going to Iran, where 17 protestors have died in violent protests.
"The ongoing violence has had a significant impact on the families of our staff who have been unable to carry on their lives as normal. We are withdrawing dependants until the situation improves," The Sun quoted a Foreign Office spokesman, as saying.
The action came as riot police fired bullets over hundreds of protesters in Tehran, and let off tear gas shells while helicopters hovered overhead.
Embassy staff will stay on for now but were warned to stay away from the demonstrations, and staff levels will be reduced if the situation worsens.
As the trouble escalated in the streets, a woman witness said: "There is a massive, massive, massive police presence."
It was a sign President Majmoud Ahmadinejad is taking a tougher stance following the country's disputed election.
Embassy chiefs fear further violence after a 27-year-old woman was shot dead.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard has warned of a "confrontation" if protests continued.
In a small concession, the Guardian Council admitted the election vote was flawed and more people had voted than were eligible.
It, however, insisted that Ahmadinejad would still have won - and refused to change the result.
Defeated Mir Hossein Mousavi urged supporters to defy police threats, by saying: "The country belongs to you." (ANI)