Britain Committed to Mend Iran Ties, Hague Says

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - British Foreign Secretary William Hague underlined his country’s commitment to improving strained relations with Iran, in a video message released on the eve of the new Iranian year.

Britain Committed to Mend Iran Ties, Hague Says

In a video message released on Wednesday night, Hague sent his best wishes to those celebrating Nowruz, which also marks the vernal equinox and the beginning of the new Iranian year.

“I want to take this opportunity to wish all those celebrating around the world a happy Nowruz,” he said.

Signaling London’s willingness for a thaw in strained relations with Tehran, Hague added, “I want to say to the Iranian people that the UK looks forward this year to improving relations with Iran.”

He also pointed to the recent efforts made jointly by Iran and Britain to improve the bilateral ties, and noted, “Our diplomats are visiting each other’s countries after a gap of nearly two years.”

“We are establishing new relationships and we’re talking to each other about a range of matters important to both our countries,” he explained.

Iran and Britain agreed in October last year 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 William 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.

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