Talks with Britain no red line for Tehran: Iranian diplomat

A senior Iranian diplomat says engaging in diplomatic negotiations with British officials is not a red line for the Islamic Republic, because holding dialogue is not the same as having similar stances.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular, Parliamentary and Iranian Expatriates Affairs Hassan Qashqavi told reporters on Monday that diplomatic talks or the reopening of embassies are not tantamount to having equal stances on various issues or forgetting the countries’ historical past.

He slammed the recent remarks by British Prime Minister David Cameron against Iran, saying, “Such inappropriate statements have nothing to do with direct diplomatic meetings and they do not necessarily contravene diplomatic negotiations.”

In his address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday night, Cameron claimed that “Iran’s support for terrorist organizations” needs to change.

The remarks came after his meeting with President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday morning on the sidelines of the 69th meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York. This was the first bilateral talks between a UK prime minister and an Iranian president since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Qashqavi noted that Iran and Britain have never cut their diplomatic ties and the countries only suspended their relations in 2011.

On November 27, 2011, Iranian lawmakers voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic ties with the UK, in response to Britain’s decision to impose new anti-Iran bans.

Following the decision, hundreds of Iranian students staged a protest outside the British embassy in Tehran, pulling down the UK flag and demanding the expulsion of the British ambassador.

On November 30 of the same year, London suspended its ties with Tehran, withdrew its diplomatic staff from Iran and the Iranian embassy in London was closed.

The two countries, however, officially resumed diplomatic ties in February and have appointed non-resident chargés d’affaires as a first step toward reopening their respective embassies.

Qashqavi pointed to the consular needs of nearly 350,000 Iranian nationals in the UK and noted that possible reopening of embassies at the level of resident chargés d’affaires does not mean that Tehran and London hold common views about global and regional issues.

By Press TV


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