Iran, UK resume 'direct' diplomatic ties, flags raised atop embassies

Iran, UK resume 'direct' diplomatic ties, flags raised atop embassies
Fri Feb 21, 2014 08:57:41

Iran and the United Kingdom have officially resumed direct diplomatic relations that were severed in 2011.

“After the meeting of our ministers in last September in New York, they agreed to re-establish the relations between Iran and the UK. In the next step, they introduced two chargés d’affaires and from today 20th February we start our direct contact with each other. Then, right now, there is a direct relation between the two countries,” said Iran’s non-resident chargé d’affaires to Britain, Mohammad Hassan Habibollahzadeh, on Thursday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and British Foreign Secretary William Hague met in New York in September 2013, during which they discussed ways to improve Tehran-London ties based on mutual respect.

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

In December 2013, Britain’s new non-resident charge d'affaires to Iran Ajay Sharma visited Tehran to hold consultations with Iranian officials and reopen Britain’s mission to Iran.

In November 2011, Iranian lawmakers voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic ties with the UK, in response to Britain's decision to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran over the allegation that Tehran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Two days after the decision by Majlis, 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 envoy.

Following the incident, Hague announced on November 30, 2011, that London is withdrawing its diplomatic staff from Iran and that the Iranian Embassy in London would be closed.

Oman was representing Iran's interests in the UK during that period.


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