Iran's New Charge D'affaires to UK Goes to London
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran's new non-resident envoy to Britain left Tehran for London on Wednesday on his first visit to London, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in his Facebook page, a sign that the thaw in ties between the two countries is gaining momentum.
The visit by Hassan Habibollahzadeh follows a trip to Tehran last week by his British counterpart Ajay Sharma.
Sharma's visit was the first visit of a British diplomat to Iran since the two sides broke off diplomatic ties two years ago. A Foreign Office spokeswoman told AFP that Habibollahzadeh would spend Thursday and Friday in Britain.
"He will meet UK officials at the Foreign Office on Friday 13, including the UK non-resident chargé d'affaires Ajay Sharma," the spokeswoman said.
Iran and Britain agreed earlier in October to appoint non-resident chargé d’affaires as a first step toward reopening their respective embassies.
The development followed a September meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and British Foreign Secretary Hague in New York, during which the two top diplomats discussed ways to improve Tehran-London ties.
On November 19, British Prime Minister David Cameron also held a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in the first such call between a UK premier and an Iranian president in more than a decade, and discussed, among other issues, the resumption of bilateral relations with the Iranian chief executive.
On November 27, 2011, a large majority of Iranian MPs voted to downgrade diplomatic ties with Britain in response to Britain's decision to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran.
days later, angry Iranian students stormed the British embassy in Tehran and pulled down that country’s flag. After the incident, Britain withdrew its diplomatic staff from the country on November 30 and asked Iran’s diplomatic delegation in that country to leave within 48 hours.