TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Russia’s ambassador to Iran said a recent escalation of diplomatic tensions between Moscow and London was a result of the UK’s envy of Russia’s success in handling regional developments and in being selected to host the World Cup.

In an interview with Press Shia Agency on Sunday, Levan Jagarian said London has declined all Russian offers for help and cooperation amid tensions over an alleged nerve agent attack against a former double agent and his daughter in Britain.

The diplomatic controversy is the result of Britain’s envy toward Russia for its success in handling Syria peace talks in Astana and Sochi and also in becoming the host of World Cup 2018, the ambassador added.

There are attempts to undermine Russia’s constructive efforts, Jagarian stated, adding that the British cannot still accept defeat from Russia in the race to host the World Cup.

Russia is preparing for the FIFA World Cup games and would not need to escalate tensions, the ambassador stressed, calling for calm in the already tense situation.

Citing London’s foreign problems, such as the Brexit struggle and the Irish border issue, Jagarian said the UK is “trying to shift public opinion onto a foreign enemy.”

Russia has reminded the UK to avoid the “language of ultimatum”, the ambassador said, adding that Moscow will have to respond to any continuation of hostile policies.

His comments came after Russia’s foreign ministry summoned the British ambassador on Saturday to inform him of retaliatory action after the UK’s expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats.

Russia expelled 23 British diplomats in a carefully calibrated retaliatory move against London

Russia has even gone a step further and shut down all activities of the British Council, which promotes greater understanding of the UK and the English language. The foreign ministry said it would also close a consulate in St. Petersburg.