UK envoy makes first Iran visit in two years
William Hague said UK-Iran ties will be improved “on a step-by-step, reciprocal basis.”
UK’s newly-appointed envoy visited Iran on Tuesday in the first diplomatic visit by a British official since its embassy in Tehran was stormed more than two years ago.
“I had a good first visit back to Tehran today,” said Ajay Sharma, who is making his first trip in his new role as non-resident charge d’affaires, according to AFP.
The move came after a historic phone call last month between Prime Minister David Cameron and Iranian President Hassan Rowhani.
It also followed a landmark agreement between Iran and World powers to reign in Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief.
The election of a relative moderate Rowhani has paved the way for a thaw in ties between the Iran and Western powers.
London announced the appointment of Ajay Sharma as its charge d’affaires in November.
In response, Iran has said that its’ non-resident charge d’affaires to Britain Mohammad Hassan Habibollahzadeh will travel to London in “coming days.”
“While in London, Habibollahzadeh is to study the state of Iranˈs diplomatic buildings in the British capital,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said, according to IRNA news agency.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Twitter Monday: “Ajay Sharma will make 1st visit to Tehran tomorrow. We’ll improve UK-Iran ties on a step-by-step, reciprocal basis.”
Hague cut direct diplomatic relations with Iran soon after its embassy in Tehran was stormed by activists in November 2011.
British officials accused Iranian authorities of failing in their duties to protect diplomats and their residences which were ransacked and set on fire.