Britain to reopen embassy in Tehran this weekend, after four years
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Britain to reopen embassy in Tehran this weekend, after four years

Foreign Secretary Hammond will fly in for reopening of mission, shuttered since it was overrun in Nov. 2011; Iran to simultaneously open embassy in London

Iranian police officers trying prevent protesters from storming the British Embassy, as others stand on the gates holding a satirized British flag and Islamic flags, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011. (Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iranian police officers trying prevent protesters from storming the British Embassy, as others stand on the gates holding a satirized British flag and Islamic flags, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011. (Photo/Vahid Salemi)

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond will travel to Iran Sunday to reopen an embassy in Tehran after it was closed for almost four years.

At the same time, an Iranian Embassy will open in London, in a sign of growing diplomatic ties following a historic nuclear deal reached last month, according to a report in the British media.

An Iranian foreign ministry official told AFP that Hammond, who helped negotiate Iran’s historic nuclear deal with world powers in July, “will travel Sunday to Iran for the reopening of the British Embassy.”

Hammond’s visit in Iran will be the first by a British foreign secretary in 14 years and follows on the heels of visits to the country by the foreign ministers of France and Italy and the vice chancellor of Germany.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond addresses the media in front of the Palais Coburg Hotel, venue of the nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria on July 2, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / SAMUEL KUBANI)
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond addresses the media in front of the Palais Coburg Hotel, venue of the nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria on July 2, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / SAMUEL KUBANI)

The European Union foreign policy czar, Federica Mogherini, also visited Iran recently.

Coming with Hammond will be several British business leaders as well as the man who represented the UK in nuclear negotiations with Iran, Sir Simon Gass, political director of the Foreign Office, according to a report in British daily The Guardian.

The embassy was shut down in November 2011 after a crowd of hardline Iranian activists ransacked the compound in anger at the British imposition of sanctions against Iran.

According to the Guardian, some of the rioters were members of the basij, a paramilitary force controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Initially the embassy will be run by a group of diplomats headed by Ajay Sharma, a chargé d’affaires who lives outside Iran, according to the Guardian.

A new ambassador has not yet been announced.

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