UK’s Jack Straw to visit Iran to discuss expansion of ties

TEHRAN (FNA)- Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has welcomed the Iranian parliamentarians’ invitation to pay a visit to Tehran to formulate a new roadmap to broaden bilateral ties, a senior Iranian lawmaker said.

The trip comes at the invitation of the Iran-Britain Parliamentary Friendship Group, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi said on Friday.

He added that Straw will travel to Tehran in the near future to hold talks with officials and lawmakers, the parliament’s website reported.

Head of the Iran-Britain Parliamentary Friendship Group Abbas Ali Mansouri Arani extended the invitation to Straw, Boroujerdi said, adding that the former British foreign secretary has welcomed the invitation.

The top parliamentarian further pointed to a visit to Tehran by Britain’s new non-resident charge d’affaires to Iran Ajay Sharma and said Sharma is on a mission to hold consultations with Iranian officials and reopen Britain’s mission to Iran if the ground is prepared.

Sharma arrived in Tehran on Tuesday to meet with the senior Iranian officials on expansion of bilateral relations.

It was the first trip of a British diplomat to Iran since ties between Tehran and London were severed in 2011.

“I had a good first visit back to Tehran and want to thank the Iranian authorities, particularly my counterpart Mohammad Hassan Habibollahzadeh, for facilitating the trip,” Sharma said in a statement issued by the UK Foreign Office.

“I held detailed and constructive discussions with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about taking forward our bilateral relationship on a step-by-step and reciprocal basis,” he added.

In October, Iran and Britain agreed to announce the names of their non-resident charges d’affaires.

In a meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York City on September 23, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his British counterpart William Hague discussed improvement of Tehran-London relations, Iran’s nuclear energy program as well as regional developments.

On November 27, 2011, Iranian lawmakers voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic ties with the United Kingdom, in response to Britain’s decision to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran over the allegation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Two days after the decision by the Iranian parliament, hundreds of Iranian students staged a protest outside the British Embassy in Tehran and pulled down the UK flag.

On November 30, 2011, London cut off its ties with Tehran, withdrew its diplomatic staff from Iran and the Iranian Embassy in London was closed.

By Fars News Agency


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