Saturday, 08 July, 2017

UK and Iran appoint ambassadors for first time since 2011


The UK has fully restored diplomatic relations with Iran by appointing an ambassador to Tehran for the first time since 2011.

The decision comes nearly five years after Iranians invaded the British embassy, and marks a gradual thawing of relations in the wake of the Iranian nuclear agreement.

Nicholas Hopton, a Middle East specialist, was appointed UK charge d’affairs in Tehran in December, and the upgrade in his role to ambassador – announced on Monday – had been regarded as only a matter of time.

A key figure in the Iranian nuclear negotiating team, Hamid Baeidinejad, has been appointed the Iranian ambassador to the UK.

The move came as British Airways restored direct flights to Tehran six days a week and British banks continued to increase operations as economic sanctions begin to be lifted.

In November 2011 Iran downgraded its relations with the UK due to the strengthened sanctions imposed on the Iranian economy by the international community. A group of students then attacked the UK embassy compound in Tehran, damaging property and driving the embassy staff away.

As a result the UK closed the embassy and ordered the Iranian embassy in London to be closed. Diplomatic relations were never entirely severed but instead reduced to the lowest level possible.

In August 2015, former British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond re-opened UK embassy in Tehran officially, marking a major step in the thawing of relations between the UK and Iran.

On Monday Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, said: “This is an important moment in the relationship between the UK and Iran. The upgrade in diplomatic relations gives us the opportunity to develop our discussions on a range of issues, including our consular cases about which I am deeply concerned, and which I have raised with foreign minister [Javad] Zarif.”

He added: “I hope this will mark the start of more productive cooperation between our countries, enabling us to discuss more directly issues such as human rights and Iran’s role in the region, as well as ongoing implementation of the nuclear deal and the expansion of the trading relationship between both our countries.”

Mr Hopton joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1989 and was the British ambassador to Qatar from 2013 to 2015.

He also served as the British ambassador to Yemen and at the British Embassies in Paris, Rome and Rabat.

Via: UK media

Photo Credit: Tasnim news

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