Iran, Britain to Resume Visa Issuance in Weeks

Iran, Britain to Resume Visa Issuance in Weeks

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his British counterpart Philip Hammond held a meeting in London, during which the two sides declared the visa sections of the two countries’ embassies will be reopened later this month.

After the 1.5-hour-long talks held on Friday morning, the two diplomats told reporters that visa issuance will be resumed within the next weeks, probably in late February.

Hammond also explained about the delay in resumption of banking ties between Iran and Britain, saying that the problems are being resolved in cooperation with his German, French and Iranian counterparts.

During the meeting, Zarif and Hammond also discussed bilateral and regional issues, including the ongoing crisis in Syria.

Zarif’s trip to London was the first official visit by an Iranian foreign minister in more than a decade. Hammond described the visit in a post in his Twitter account as a “symbol of warming relations” between Tehran and London.

The Iranian foreign minister had earlier held talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday, during which the two highlighted the progress in Tehran-London relations, and called for expansion of trade ties.

According to a spokesman for the British administration, Cameron had a brief conversation with Zarif in the margins of the Supporting Syria conference in London on Thursday.

“The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Zarif agreed that progress had been made on the bilateral relationship, and there was an opportunity to do more to boost trade links,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman also noted that Cameron has raised concerns over the dual Iranian-British nationals held in Iranian prisons, and called for swift progress in their cases.

Iran-Britain ties soured in 2011. On November 27, 2011, a large majority of Iranian lawmakers voted to downgrade diplomatic ties with Britain, following Britain’s decision to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran.

Later, angry Iranian students stormed the British embassy in Tehran and pulled down the European 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.

The two countries made diplomatic efforts afterwards to amend ties.

In August 2015, the British embassy in Iran reopened after a 4-year closure.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Hammond attended a ceremony in Tehran to mark the reopening on August 23. It was the first visit by a British foreign secretary to Iran since 2003.

Simultaneously, Iran’s embassy in London also reopened.

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