Iran British embassy protest 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer)
LONDON - Britain said on Monday it had revived diplomatic
relations with Iran and appointed a non-resident charge d'affaires, two years
after an angry mob ransacked the British embassy in Tehran.
announcement reflects a thaw in Iran's relations with the West and comes after
Iran and six world powers, including Britain, came close to a preliminary
agreement about Tehran's nuclear program at the weekend.
Foreign Office said Ajay Sharma, currently the head of the ministry's Iran
department, would take up the post immediately and hoped to visit Tehran this
"I am very much looking forward to renewing direct UK contact with
the Iranian government and society," Sharma said in a statement. "This is very
much in the interests of both our countries." Iran's Mehr news agency said
Tehran had appointed Mohammad Hassan Habibollah as charge d'affaires to
Britain closed its embassy in Tehran in 2011 after a rally
against British sanctions escalated into violence and protesters scaled the
walls, ransacked offices and burned buildings.
It was the worst crisis
between Britain and Iran since full diplomatic relations were restored in 1999,
a decade after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's fatwa that British author Salman
Rushdie should be killed for writing The Satanic Verses
Sharma will be
based in Britain but will travel regularly to Iran. He was deputy head of the
British mission in Tehran in 2007 and 2008.
British Foreign Secretary
William Hague said last month that Iran's approach to international affairs had
become far more positive since Hassan Rouhani was elected president in June,
replacing hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.