UK to open embassy in Iran

  • 23/08/2015

Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says he will reopen the UK's embassy in Iran, four years on since it was trashed by a mob, as Tehran's ties warm with the West.

Iran's embassy in London will reopen at the same time on Sunday (local time), Hammond said, initially at charge d'affaires level, with a view to installing the two countries' respective ambassadors in the coming months.

European officials have been quick to visit Tehran since July 14, when Iran struck a deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, ending a 13-year stand-off over its nuclear program.

The accord will see the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on Iran and has sparked a flurry of interest from countries seeking to re-connect with the oil-rich Islamic republic.

Hammond's visit is the first by a British foreign secretary since 2003.

"Four years on from an attack on the British embassy, I am today re-opening it," Hammond said in a statement.

"The Iranians will simultaneously re-open their embassy in London. Our relationship has improved since 2011."

That thaw began with the June 2013 election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a reputed moderate who reached out to the West.