"Also there is a tradition of freelancing.... In this case I wouldn't be surprised if it's the Qods Force," he adds, referring to the branch of the Revolutionary Guard that handles covert operations beyond Iran's borders. During the attack on the embassy, portraits of the Qods Force chief were held aloft, and some who breached the gates were identified on Farsi-language websites as Qods Force officers.
The British were an easy target for a regime incensed with increasing pressure from the West.
"There isn't an American embassy to attack," he says. "If you've got a shadow war going on with Israel and the United States, in which people are getting killed and bombed, and facilities are getting attacked, and then they put more pressure on you through the [United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency] and the EU and US sanctions – well, you lash out."
The response was severe: Britain shut down the Iranian Embassy in London and expelled Iran's diplomats; the European Union slapped sanctions on 180 more Iranian entities and people; and the US Senate voted unanimously in favor of sanctions against all who do business with Iran's central bank.