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Zarif, Hammond praise reopening of UK, Iranian embassies

The two countries reopened their embassies in Tehran and London Sunday

Zarif, Hammond praise reopening of UK, Iranian embassies


Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond have said the reopening of their respective embassies in Tehran and London marks the first step in the rebuilding of bilateral ties.

The two ministers’ comments came during a joint press conference following a one-on-one meeting after the British embassy was reopened after four years in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Sunday.

The decision of mutually reopening diplomatic missions from the two countries came following the recently reached deal between Iran and the world powers’ group on Iran’s nuclear program.

"This is a new start for relations between Iran and Britain. The relations have faced lots of ups and downs in the previous years, but today we have started a new phase of relationships based on mutual respect and a policy of constructive interaction," Zarif said.

Noting that Iran and Britain would cooperate in areas where they share the same points of view such as the need to fight extremism, sectarianism, and drug trafficking, Zarif said they would embark on negotiations and have further talks to deal with various other issues where they have differences of opinion such as human rights.

"These differences can be better dealt with through dialogue and interaction and reaching a mutual understanding," he said.

Hammond, for his part, said he was "delighted that we have simultaneously reopened the British embassy in Iran and the Iranian embassy in London."

Noting that since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, there has been a "steady improvement in relations between two countries step by step," Hammond said Iran was and would remain a very important country in a strategically important and volatile region.

Hammond said reopening the embassies was not just an important symbol, but an "important practical channel for being able to engage on the very many issues that are of concern and where we have shared interests," as well as being "a first step in rebuilding and facilitating people-to-people links between the Iranian people and the British people." 

Hammond said Iran and Britain would "work together to deal with the scourge of terrorism, to promote regional stability, to tackle the spread of ISIL [Daesh] in Syria and Iraq, to counter narcotics, and to deal with challenges of irregular migration".

"I look forward to a sustained dialogue and a mutually beneficial cooperation in the areas where our interests coincide and a friendly but frank discussion in those areas where our differences remain," he said.

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