Britain and Iran to restore diplomatic relations

Countries will appoint charges d’affaires for the first time since a 2011 riot at the UK embassy in Tehran led to the severing of ties

British Foreign Secretary William Hague (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash90/File)
British Foreign Secretary William Hague (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash90/File)

After a two-year hiatus, Britain and Iran have reportedly agreed to restart diplomatic ties and appoint respective charges d’affaires, after a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the nuclear talks in Geneva , AFP reported Wednesday.

The two countries, which severed relations following a 2011 attack on the UK embassy in Tehran, will reportedly name the diplomatic officials in the next two weeks, in an initial move toward reopening embassies.

“We have … agreed that both our countries will now appoint a non-resident charge d’affaires tasked with implementing the building of relations, including interim steps on the way towards the eventual reopening of both our embassies,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said recently, referring to a phone conversation he had with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier this month.

The agreement to rekindle ties came after a meeting on the sidelines of the so-called P5+1 talks in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear program.

Britain’s Embassy in Tehran was shuttered in 2011, after Islamist students protesting Western sanctions overran the compound. Iran was forced to close its embassy in London following the raid.

Since the incident British interests in Iran were represented by the local Swedish embassy, and Iranian interests in London by the embassy of Oman.

Hague expressed his interest in developing the diplomatic relations with Iran shortly after the June election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who has made efforts to revive ties with the West.

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