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Protests at Swiss embassy over Koran threat

Around 500 people have protested outside the Swiss embassy in Tehran over plans by a United States pastor to burn copies of the Koran.

According to an Agence France Presse photographer at the scene, the protestors tried unsuccessfully to enter the embassy. Switzerland represents US interests in Iran.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the highly controversial move by pastor Terry Jones was a “Zionist plot”. Two leading Iranian religious figures on Monday said people who destroyed the Koran should be killed, the Fars news agency reported.

Jones heeded international pressure and gave up on his plans to burn the Koran to mark the September 11 terrorist attacks. But a small group of conservative Christians did tear some pages from the Koran in a stunt in front of the White House on Saturday.

Through its good offices, Switzerland has represented US interests in Iran since 1980. Relations broken down between Washington and Tehran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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