TEHRAN (FNA)- Britain’s new Ambassador to Tehran Nicholas Hopton underlined that many British companies and banks are willing to expand their cooperation with Iran following the last year nuclear deal.
“Today, we are witnessing real progress in bilateral relations and the British firms and banks are highly willing to cooperate with Iranian companies,” Hopton said in a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Sunday, and added, “Necessary negotiations will be held between the two countries’ Central Banks in the near future.”
He also underscored the importance of cooperation with Tehran to resolve the regional crises, and said, “We hope to have more cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran on regional issues.”
President Rouhani, for his part, stressed Iran’s full compliance with the last year nuclear deal, and said Tehran expects the world powers to reciprocate Iran’s compliance with their full implementation of the agreement.
During the meeting, Hopton also submitted his credentials to President Rouhani.
Hamid Baeedinejad and Nicholas Hopton submitted their credentials to senior officials in London and Tehran early August to launch their careers as Iran and Britain’s ambassadors after a several-year hiatus.
“It is over one year that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Britain’s embassies have resumed operation and all the current affairs were carried out by the two countries’ charge d’affairs. Now after the rise of (appropriate) conditions to enhance the two countries’ relations, the two (states) have decided to station their envoys in Tehran and London,” a source at the Iranian foreign ministry said at the time.
The source, meantime, underlined that enhancement of relations doesn’t mean a settlement of all the problems between the two sides and the Islamic Republic of Iran will announce its views clearly in bilateral talks and by other means.
Relations between Iran and Britain hit an all-time low in November 2011, when the two countries shut down their diplomatic missions around Britain’s key role in the imposition of a new set of western sanctions against Iran and its repeated meddling with Iran’s domestic affairs.
Iran recalled all its staff and closed its embassy in London in November after Britain recalled its diplomatic mission in Tehran due to massive protests in front of the British embassy complex by thousands of Iranian students who demanded a cut of ties with London.
The Iranian students’ November protests at the British mission came after the Iranian legislators in an open session of the parliament in November approved the bill of a law on downgrading relations with Britain. After the parliament approval, Iran expelled the British ambassador from Tehran.
The parliament approval came a week after the US and Britain targeted Iranian financial sectors with new punitive measures, including sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank and petrochemical industry.
The sanction against CBI and Iran’s petrochemical industry was adopted in a unilateral move by the US, Canada and Britain outside the UN Security Council as other council members, specially Russia and China, had earlier warned against any fresh punitive measure, including sanctions, against Iran.
The British government has also embarked on delisting the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from its list of terrorist groups.
The Iranian lawmakers initially started drafting a bill to downgrade ties with London after Britain’s direct involvement in stirring post-election unrests in Iran in 2009, but they intensified and accelerated the move after former British Envoy to Tehran Simon Gass criticized the human rights situation in Iran.
“Today, International Human Rights Day is highlighting the cases of those people around the world who stand up for the rights of others – the lawyers, journalists and NGO workers who place themselves at risk to defend their countrymen,” Gass said in a memo published by the British Embassy in Tehran on December 9, 2010.
“Nowhere are they under greater threat than in Iran. Since last year human rights defenders have been harassed and imprisoned,” Gass added.
Following Britain’s support for a group of wild demonstrators who disrespected Islamic sanctities and damaged private and public amenities and properties in Tehran on
On December 27, 2009, members of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission drafted bill of a law requiring the country’s Foreign Ministry to cut relations with Britain completely.
The British government’s blatant stance and repeated remarks in support of the last year unrests inside Iran and London’s espionage operations and financial and media support for the opposition groups are among the reasons mentioned in the bill for cutting ties with Britain.
Iran has repeatedly accused the West of stoking post-election unrests, singling out Britain and the US for meddling. Tehran expelled two British diplomats and arrested a number of local staffs of the British embassy in Tehran after documents and evidence substantiated London’s interfering role in stirring post-election riots in Iran.
But after President Rouhani rose to power, he and his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, pursued the policy of detente and started talks with London on the resumption of diplomatic ties and reopening embassies.
In a meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York City on September 23, 2013, Zarif and his British counterpart William Hague discussed improvement of Tehran-London relations, Iran’s nuclear energy program as well as regional developments.
In October 2013, Iran and Britain agreed to announce the names of their non-resident charges d’affaires.
Last December, Head of Iran-Britain Parliamentary Friendship Group Abbasali Mansouri Arani underlined that the British member of the House of Commons, Jack Straw, was due to visit Iran to pave the way for the normalization of ties between the two states.
Straw visited Iran the same month.