Hammond to Reopen British Embassy in Tehran Sunday: Source

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An informed source in Iran’s Foreign Ministry confirmed reports that British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is due in Tehran to reopen his country’s embassy in the Iranian capital.

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A number of media outlets including Britain’s Guardian newspaper had reported earlier that Hammond will formally reopen the British embassy in Tehran this weekend.

“Hammond will be accompanied on his visit by a handful of British business leaders as well as the Foreign Office political director, Sir Simon Gass, who represented Britain in the marathon talks leading up to the July nuclear agreement,” the newspaper wrote.

The source in the Iranian foreign ministry on Thursday confirmed the reports, saying the reopening will take place during a visit by Hammond to Tehran on Sunday.

Following the successful conclusion of nuclear talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russian, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany), the British foreign secretary hoped that his country’s embassy would reopen in Tehran in the current year.

He will be Britain’s first top diplomat to visit the Iranian capital in nearly 14 years.

Iran and an and the sextet on July 14 reached a conclusion in Vienna, Austria, on a lasting nuclear agreement that would terminate all sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear energy program after coming into force.

Tehran-London relations became tense in 2011. On November 27 that year, a large number of Iranian lawmakers voted to downgrade diplomatic ties with Britain, following London’s decision to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran.

Later, a group of angry Iranian students stormed the British embassy in Tehran and pulled down that country’s flag.

Following the incident, Britain withdrew its diplomatic staff from Tehran on November 30 and asked Iran’s diplomatic delegation in London to leave within 48 hours.

Iran and Britain agreed in October 2013 to appoint non-resident chargé d’affaires as a first step towards reopening their respective embassies.

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