Iran has disagreements with Britain, FM Zarif says

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran and Britain are not on the same wavelengths, but the two can talk in an “interactive” atmosphere, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in the wake of a “historic” visit to Iran by his British counterpart to reopen their embassy in Tehran.

“Of course, we have certain disagreements with British government,” Zarif told reporters on Sunday after attending a conference in Tehran.

However, he added, Tehran and London can hold talks in an interactive atmosphere with eyes wide-open and advance the work by a serious and precise approach.

His remarks came as British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Sunday officially reopened the British embassy in Tehran after a 4-year closure.

During a ceremony in Tehran to reopen the embassy, Hammond said there is no limit to what Britain and Iran could achieve together, though they wouldn’t always agree.

Zarif pointed to the development and noted that Iran was supposed to normalize its relations with the entire world except certain countries.

“We did not close the British embassy, they did it themselves,” he added, stressing that London’s move came after British officials realized Iran’s regional and international role.

Tehran-London relations became tense in 2011. On November 27 that year, a large number of Iranian lawmakers voted to downgrade diplomatic ties with Britain, following London’s decision to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran.

Later, a group of angry Iranian students stormed the British embassy in Tehran and pulled down that country’s flag.

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

Iran and Britain agreed in October 2013 to appoint non-resident chargé d’affaires as a first step towards reopening their respective embassies.

The development followed a September meeting between Foreign Minister Zarif and his then British counterpart William Hague in New York, during which the two top diplomats discussed ways to improve Tehran-London ties.

By Tasnim News Agency