Iran is ruled by its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has overseen 30 years of dictatorship and extreme conservatism, and is backed by hardliners in Iran who express deep hatred for Western nations. This includes the UK, regarded as one of Tehran’s major enemies by hardliners in Iran due to a tense history between the two nations.
The UK invaded Iran alongside the Soviet Union in 1941 during World War 2, taking control of the country’s railway system and communication systems, and only leaving at the end of the War.
More recently, some Iranians believe the UK is an enemy after it helped Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq war, lasting from 1980-1988 after the Iranian revolution of 1979.
The UK, along with the US and Germany, provided military materials to Iraq in the early period of Saddam Hussein’s rule.
This historical anger has culminated in some Iranians hating the UK, as epitomised by the rhetoric of the country’s leaders and media.
In 2014, the Guardian’s Iran correspondent reported that Iranian hardliners have an extraordinary obsession with Britain, dubbing the country the “old fox”.
In the view of Iranian hardliners, Britain has influence over everything political in Tehran and the Royal Family still runs Westminster, according to the report.
After former Prime Minister David Cameron met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in 2014, a regime-backed newspaper published an article threatening violence between Iran and the West.
Criticism of the UK and US in Iran is not limited to the country’s press however, as even Tehran’s most prominent figures have unleashed fiery rants aimed at Western nations.
Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed in 2009 that the UK is an “evil” country.
He added that Western countries were “hungry wolves ambushing us and removing the diplomatic cover from their faces”.
He continued: “They are showing their true enmity towards the Iranian Islamic state and the most evil of them is the British government.”