- Title: IRAN-NUCLEAR/IRANIAN EMBASSY Iran reopens embassy in London
- Date: 23rd August 2015
- Summary: LONDON, UK (AUGUST 23, 2015) (REUTERS) STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF IRAN'S DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER, MEHDI DANESH YAZDI (C) IRAN'S CHARGE D'AFFAIRES TO THE IRANIAN EMBASSY IN LONDON, MOHAMMAD HASSAN HABIBOLLAHZADEH (CENTRE R), FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY JACK STRAW (CENTRE L), FORMER BRITISH CHANCELLOR NORMAN LAMONT (6TH L), DEBORAH BRONNERT FROM BRITAIN'S FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE, AND GUESTS, DURING THE PLAYING OF THE IRANIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM AT THE CHARGE D'AFFAIRES RESIDENCY IN LONDON STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF IRAN'S DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER, MEHDI DANESH YAZDI, SPEAKING AT A CEREMONY AT THE RESIDENCY OF IRAN'S CHARGE D'AFFAIRES STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF IRAN'S DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER, MEHDI DANESH YAZDI (CENTRE L) SITTING WITH IRAN'S CHARGE D'AFFAIRES TO THE IRANIAN EMBASSY IN LONDON, MOHAMMAD HASSAN HABIBOLLAHZADEH, DURING A CEREMONY AT HIS RESIDENCY STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF IRAN'S DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER, MEHDI DANESH YAZDI, DURING A CEREMONY AT THE RESIDENCY OF IRAN'S CHARGE D'AFFAIRES
- Embargoed: 7th September 2015 13:00
- Location: United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA7SSDDVVH10PNO8TTUOBQ6NW3E
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Iran reopened its embassy in London on Sunday (August 23), reciprocating hours after Britain restored diplomatic ties with Tehran.
Iran's charge d'affaires in London, Mohammad Hassan Habibollahzadeh, and Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Danesh Yazdi attended the event.
Former British Foreign Minister Jack Straw was the last UK minister to visit Tehran in 2003. He spoke of the importance of this diplomatic relationship which dates back to the 19th century.
"Relations have always been quite difficult and they reached a further nadir in November 2011 with the invasion of our embassy in Tehran, but this is really good news, it's a good day and of course it builds on the agreement which was made between the P5 plus 1 and the Islamic Republic back in July," Straw said referring to the deal on Iran's disputed nuclear programme reached last month with six major world powers, including Britain and the United States.
Iranian Cleric Mohammad Razavi agreed that it was an important day, saying "we hope that the relationship gets better between the two countries."
Chairman of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Iran, Richard Bacon attended the opening, saying he'd been waiting for this day.
"Iran is an extremely important player in the Middle East and it's been very disappointing that we've not had proper diplomatic relations with them for so long. I think many of the problems in the Middle East with Syria and Iraq and Daesh (Islamic State) in the Middle East will not be solved without the input of countries like Iran which has deep inside knowledge, local knowledge and understands the problems with a depth that we can't hope to match," Bacon said.
In 1980, Britain's elite Special Air Service (SAS) stormed the Iranian embassy overlooking Hyde Park in London after six gunmen demanding the release of Arab prisoners from the southwestern Khuzestan province took 26 hostages inside. Iran thanked Britain for saving all but one of the hostages.
Norman Lamont was a Member of Parliament in 1980 and went on to serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) in Margaret Thatcher's government. He said the reopening was a good thing.
"It is a step towards normalising relations, all the other European countries have got embassies open in Tehran, a very regrettable incident caused us to close ours but I'm glad that we're reopening it," Lamont said.
"Iran and Britain and have certain common interests, it's not just about economics it is about politics in the Middle East, and I hope - of course everything is subject to proof - that this will lead to greater cooperation between our two countries and better relations," he added.
Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Sunday it was too early to talk of reopening the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, saying said the United States' "illogical attitude" towards Iran meant the time was not ripe for a similar move with Washington.
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