TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian deputy foreign minister conferred with his British counterpart in New York to discuss resumption of ties between Tehran and London and exchange views over the latest developments in the region.
Following a meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague held on the sidelines of the 68th UN General Assembly session in New York on Monday, Majid Takht Ravanchi and one of Hague’s senior deputies met to discuss possible ways of the resumption of bilateral ties between Iran and Britain.
Almost two years after Tehran and London cut their ties, Zarif and Hague in their meeting in New York on Monday discussed the necessity for normalizing bilateral relations, and agreed to pursue the resumption of the severed ties through their deputies on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.
During the meeting, the British foreign secretary highlighted the constructive role of Iran in the settlement of the Syrian crisis, and called for more interaction between international bodies and Tehran to find new peaceful solutions to the ongoing bloodshed in Syria.
A new round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and G5+1(the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) was also discussed in the Monday meeting.
Relations between Iran and Britain hit an all-time low in November 2011, when the two countries shut down their diplomatic missions around Britain’s key role in the imposition of a new set of Western sanctions against Iran and its repeated meddling with Iran’s domestic affairs.
Iran recalled all its staff and closed its embassy in London in November after Britain recalled its diplomatic mission in Tehran due to massive protests in front of the British embassy complex by thousands of Iranian students who demanded a cut of ties with London.
The Iranian students’ November protests at the British mission came after the Iranian legislators in an open session of the parliament in November approved the bill of a law on downgrading relations with Britain. After the parliament approval, Iran expelled the British ambassador from Tehran.
The parliament approval came a week after the US and Britain targeted Iranian financial sectors with new punitive measures, including sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank and petrochemical industry.
The sanction against CBI and Iran’s petrochemical industry was adopted in a unilateral move by the US, Canada and Britain outside the UN Security Council as other council members, specially Russia and China, had earlier warned against any fresh punitive measure, including sanctions, against Iran.
The British government has also embarked on delisting the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from its list of terrorist groups.
The Iranian lawmakers initially started drafting a bill to downgrade ties with London after Britain’s direct involvement in stirring post-election unrests in Iran in 2009, but they intensified and accelerated the move after former British Envoy to Tehran Simon Gass criticized the human rights situation in Iran.
“Today, International Human Rights Day is highlighting the cases of those people around the world who stand up for the rights of others – the lawyers, journalists and NGO workers who place themselves at risk to defend their countrymen,” Gass said in a memo published by the British Embassy in Tehran on December 9, 2010.
“Nowhere are they under greater threat than in Iran. Since last year human rights defenders have been harassed and imprisoned,” Gass added.
Following Britain’s support for a group of wild demonstrators who disrespected Islamic sanctities and damaged private and public amenities and properties in Tehran on December 27, 2009, members of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission drafted bill of a law requiring the country’s Foreign Ministry to cut relations with Britain completely.
The British government’s blatant stance and repeated remarks in support of the last year unrests inside Iran and London’s espionage operations and financial and media support for the opposition groups are among the reasons mentioned in the bill for cutting ties with Britain.
Iran has repeatedly accused the West of stoking post-election unrests, singling out Britain and the US for meddling. Tehran expelled two British diplomats and arrested a number of local staffs of the British embassy in Tehran after documents and evidence substantiated London’s interfering role in stirring post-election riots in Iran.
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