I was just looking at this article: UK 'threatens' to raid Ecuador embassy over Assange

"Today we've received a threat by the United Kingdom, a clear and written threat that they could storm our embassy in London if Ecuador refuses to hand in Julian Assange," he said.

Has any nation ever breached the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and entered an embassy without the permission of the embassy? If so, what were the consequences?

2 Answers 2


The best known example is the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979-1981.

The people who entered and took over the US embassy in Tehran were not officially representatives of the Iranian government, but it's clear enough that they had government support; at the very least, the government did nothing (that I know of) to encourage them to leave.

The result was a further weakening of US/Iranian relations, including US sanctions against Iran. It's been argued that it contributed strongly to the defeat of President Carter's reelection campaign in 1980.

  • 1
    And en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_Embassy_siege, the UK govt decided that since the criminals weren't Iranians it was a simple crime and they could act. The Iranian govt already claimed it was all a UK/USA trick so diplomatic relations didn't really matter.
    – none
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 3:08
  • Well, there's also the little fact that the USA no longer has an embassy with Iran (going on more than 30 years now). This is quite understandable given what happened to the last one under this same Iranian government, but has a lot of unfortuate geopolitical consequences.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 15:23
  • 1
    @mgb: I found your comment confusing until I realized you're talking about a different incident, one involving the Iranian embassy in London. I'm leaving this comment in case anyone else makes the same mistake I did. Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 19:08

In 2002, Chinese forces briefly entered the Japanese general consulate in China, in the action of catching defectors from North Korea, who had just rushed into the consulate.

There was probably not much thinking during the brief time of the action, I guess. Afterwards, the Chinese officials claimed they were welcome, but the incident provoked a lot of criticism from Japanese and South Korean media.

Here is the official stance of the Japanese government on this incident (in Japanese): http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/area/china/shinyo/

Source: 瀋陽総領事館北朝鮮人亡命者駆け込み事件
(poor attempt at translation by Google Translate)

  • 2
    Yay for Google translate.
    – Luke_0
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 18:10

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