UK non-resident d’affaires to visit Iran

Britain’s new nonresident envoy to Iran Ajay Sharma is scheduled to arrive in Tehran for talks with his Iranian counterpart, the first diplomatic visit by a British official to Iran since two years ago.

Iran’s non-resident chargés d’affaires to Britain Mohammad Hassan Habibollahzadeh told IRNA that Sharma will make a trip to Tehran on Tuesday with a delegation to visit British diplomatic buildings and to hold talks with officials at the Foreign Ministry.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague also announced the visit via his regular Twitter account, saying “We’ll improve UK-Iran ties on a step-by-step, reciprocal basis.”

According to reports, Habibollahzadeh would also make a similar visit at some stage to study the state of Iran’s diplomatic buildings and hold meetings with British officials in London.

Iran and Britain agreed earlier in October to appoint non-resident chargés d’affaires as a first step toward reopening their respective embassies.

The development followed a September meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Hague in New York, during which the two top diplomats discussed the ways to improve Tehran-London ties based on mutual respect.

On November 19, British Prime Minister David Cameron also held a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in the first such call between a UK premier and an Iranian president in more than a decade, and discussed, among other issues, the resumption of bilateral relations with the Iranian chief executive.

On November 27, 2011, a large majority of Iranian MPs voted to downgrade diplomatic ties with Britain in response to Britain’s sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran, over an alleged non-civilian side to Iran’s nuclear energy program.

The decision by Iranian MPs followed a demonstration in Tehran outside the British embassy during which the UK flag was pulled down.

After the incident, condemned in Iran, Britain withdrew its diplomatic staff from Iran on November 30 and asked Iran’s diplomatic delegation in London to leave within 48 hours.

By Press TV


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