TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The tricolor flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran rose over the country’s embassy in London as Iran and Britain agreed to reestablish direct diplomatic relations, which had been stalled for some three years.
On Thursday, Iran and Britain started to quit contact thorough a third country and resumed direct diplomatic relations.
However, the two countries’ embassies in their respective capitals have not been officially reopened so far.
Tehran and London have agreed that direct diplomatic ties would continue through non-resident chargé d’affaires instead of the third-country intermediaries.
“After the meeting of our ministers in last September in New York, they agreed to re-establish the relations between Iran and the UK. In the next step, they introduced two chargés d’affaires and from today 20th February we start our direct contact with each other. Then, right now, there is a direct relation between the two countries,” Mohammad Hassan Habibollahzadeh, Iran’s non-resident chargé d’affaires to Britain, announced on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a British foreign office spokesperson said on Thursday that “the UK has agreed with Iran that from today bilateral relations will be conducted directly through non-resident charges d’affaires and officials.”
“We will no longer have formal Protecting Power arrangements in place. This is the next stage of the step-by-step process of taking forward our bilateral relationship with Iran,” the spokesperson added, the Guardian reported.
Under the power arrangements, Oman was hosting Iran’s interest section in London, while Sweden acted for Britain in Tehran.
Despite this, British and Iranian embassies in their respective capitals remain closed until capitals decide to upgrade to a full diplomatic status.
Iran and Britain agreed in October last year to appoint non-resident chargé 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 British Foreign Secretary Hague in New York, during which the two top diplomats discussed ways to improve Tehran-London ties.
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 decision to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran.
Days later, angry Iranian students stormed the British embassy in Tehran and pulled down that country’s flag. After the incident, Britain withdrew its diplomatic staff from the country on November 30 and asked Iran’s diplomatic delegation in that country to leave within 48 hours.
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