British MPs in Iran to boost ties

January 08, 2014 - 6:30:58 am

Head of the Iran-Britain friendship group at the parliament Abas Ali Mansouri (right) welcomes a British parliamentary delegation headed by former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw (second right) at the parliament office in Tehran yesterday.

ANKARA: A British parliamentary delegation led by former foreign secretary Jack Straw met Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif yesterday at the start of the first such visit in years, Iranian state television reported.

Long-strained ties between the two countries have warmed since the relatively moderate Hassan Rouhani was elected Iran’s president in June.

In December, a new non-resident charge d’affaires made Britain’s first diplomatic visit to Iran since London downgraded ties after hardliners stormed its embassy in 2011. The two countries’ respective embassies remain closed, however.

Iranian media said the delegation would also meet parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani and the head of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi.

Rouhani’s election has also signalled detente on the thorny issue of Iran’s sensitive nuclear programme; six world powers including Britain agreed an outline deal in November that will curb the programme in return for an easing of economic sanctions.

The other members of the British delegation are former finance minister Norman Lamont, Conservative member of parliament Ben Wallace and Labour lawmaker Jeremy Corbyn.

Reuters

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