Iran, UK to reopen embassies soon, says Iran Deputy FM

TEHRAN (ISNA)- Iran and America will have “opportunities” for cooperation in tackling terrorism if the nuclear agreement is implemented successfully, according to the Islamic Republic’s deputy foreign minister.

In an interview with The Telegraph in Tehran, Majid Takht Ravanchi laid out a path for how Iran’s ties with the United States, and stressed that it was “premature” to go into detail, but the struggle against terrorism was one possible area for future cooperation.

Ravanchi added that no “serious issues” stood in the way of reopening the British Embassy in Tehran, predicting that normal ties could be restored sooner than UK officials have suggested.

He also said that the nuclear deal obtained between Iran and G5+1 in Vienna on July 14 was a “new baby” – he laid out Iran’s view of relations with America.

”For the future, it is premature to see whether there will be possibilities for Iran and the United States to work together on regional issues. First we have to see how this new baby (the nuclear agreement), if I can say, can be brought up,” he said.

“If everything goes well in the implementation of the agreement, I think there will be opportunities. I cannot say now to what extent Iran can cooperate with the West.”

For now, Ravanchi said the priority was to ensure the nuclear deal was “nurtured, protected, supported.”

He added, “Suppose that this matter is being implemented properly and over time the necessary confidence is built, there are opportunities – and first and foremost is over how to deal with this problem of terrorism and extremism.”

Ravanchi added: “This is an issue which is not confined to a specific region, which is not related to only one country. So these are the opportunities that can be discussed, can be elaborated, between Iran and others in the future.”

As for the timing of any future cooperation with America, Ravanchi stressed how the progress of the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), would be the decisive factor.

”It seems to us that we need four to five months before this JCPOA begins to be implemented. So we are talking about somewhere around six months to one year – and I think it is not really wise to talk about it now,” he said.

Ravanchi stressed how the ISIL “menace” transcended national boundaries. “This is an international threat and this needs an international response. We believe that all members of the international community should come together and try to address this problem.”

The US President Barack Obama is trying to persuade Congress to endorse the nuclear deal. In order to reassure Republican critics, he has declared that America retains the option of using force against Iran or re-imposing sanctions.

Ravanchi said Iranians understood that Obama’s remarks were “for domestic consumption.”

He added, “Talking about the use of force is an empty threat and does not solve any problem. But we know they have difficulties back home, they have to address the concerns being raised in the Congress. As far as reaction to those comments in Iran is concerned, I think the Iranian people know these are not something they should really worry about.”

Ravanchi said, “There is a bitter history between Iran and the United States. As I said, this nuclear deal can be the foundation for possible future interaction.”

Ravanchi made clear that both embassies would soon reopen.

“There are a number of issues which need to be resolved, but I think these are not difficult issues,” he said. “We have not discussed officially when that specific date should be, but I don’t think this is going to be a major problem.”

Philip Hammond, British Foreign Secretary, suggested last week that Britain’s embassy in Tehran could reopen by December.

For his part, Ravanchi said: “I think we can do it even earlier, because these issues are not really serious issues.