UK’s Johnson gov’t seeks to reduce tensions, develop trade ties with Iran

IRNA – British Prime Minister Borris Johnson’s foreign policy is aimed at reducing tensions with Iran and developing trade relations as London looks at Iran as a big market, said Iran’s ambassador to the UK on Wednesday.

“Experience has shown that since Johnson was foreign secretary until now that he is the British premier has been seeking to defuse tensions with Iran,” said Iran’s Ambassador to the UK Hamid Baeidinejad on Wednesday in an interview with IRNA.

He mentioned that the UK looks at Iran as a big market as London is leaving the European Union, making the country in need of bigger markets such as the US, China, and India.

The Iranian envoy noted that in a recent report by Simon Penney, the British government’s Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iran is a great market with huge potentials, adding that expanding ties between the two countries will be beneficial for both countries.

“Iran’s vast economic and trade capabilities will be paid attention to in the post-Brexit era and relations that can benefit both countries can be forged. The British look at the Joint Comprehensive Plan of action as an international security issue and far greater than Europe’s trade ties,” he told IRNA.

The UK is set to leave the EU on January 31, more than three and a half years after the public backed Brexit in a referendum.

He stressed that Iran will keep scaling back its nuclear commitments if the Europeans and the British in specific don’t create a balance between living up to their nuclear promises and launching their financial channel with Iran, also known as the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX).

The INSTEX was set up by France, Germany, and the UK, the three signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, in January in the face of reimposed unilateral US sanctions on Iran. However, the instrument isn’t functional yet.

Baeidinejad stated that Iran and England hold different views about the Middle East, meaning that they want to keep their presence in the region while Iran is against any foreign presence in the region.

“It’s natural that the British are present in the region to support regional countries. But, we hope that regional countries and others who are interested in stable security in the Persian Gulf help regional states to play this vital role in creating their own security instead of relying on some foreign countries,” he said in the interview.

According to the Iranian official, the British can’t hold a permanent military presence in the region, adding that it won’t be able to replace the American forces. “They can only patrol the area,” he declared.

“We advise the new British government to encourage the Persian Gulf regional states to join Iran’s Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE) instead of planning for expanding its military presence in the region, even in small scales,” said Baeidinejad.

He said that the post-Brexit Britain will try to hold trade talks with other countries such as the US, China, India, and Iran in a bid not to lose their markets after they leave the EU.