British envoy to visit Tehran as relationship warms

Britain’s new envoy to Tehran will visit Iran on Tuesday in light of a recent thaw in relations

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Britain’s new envoy to Tehran will visit Iran Tuesday for the first time since a thaw in relations between the two countries who severed ties two years ago, reported Agence France-Presse.

His counterpart Hassan Habibollah-Zadeh, the new Iranian envoy to Britain, will be heading to London at a later date, he told the official IRNA news agency.

“As the first step, the British non-resident charge d'affaires Ajay Sharma arrives Tuesday in Tehran along with a delegation to visit British diplomatic buildings and hold talks with foreign ministry officials,” IRNA quoted the Iranian diplomat as saying.

“Following that I will travel to London along with a delegation to study the situation of Iran's diplomatic buildings, improve consular services and hold talks with British officials,” he added.

The comments were made amid a thaw in relations between Iran and the international community following the June election of Iranian President Hassan Rowhani and following last week’s deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

Britain ordered the closure of Iran’s embassy in London after shuttering its own in Tehran following the storming of the compound by hundreds of Islamist students in November 2011, AFP reported.

The students - who were protesting against Western sanctions over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program - ransacked the building and also targeted the British ambassador's residence in north Tehran.

The two countries named the non-resident charges d’affaires - a diplomatic post that is one level below ambassador - last month.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the decision to name envoys was made after he met his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in October on the sidelines of Geneva talks on Iran’s nuclear program.

(With AFP)

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