Britain Reopens Embassy in Tehran: Seen as Huge Positive

It took place after lawmakers voted to expel Britain’s ambassador and reduce trade relations in retaliation for nuclear-related sanctions against Iran’s banking sector.


British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond sits in a meeting with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani at the presidency office in Tehran, Iran, Monday, August 24, 2015, a day after Hammond attended the reopening of Britain’s embassy

Terrorism, regional stability and the spread of the Islamic State extremist group in Syria and Iraq are among the challenges Britain and Iran should be prepared to work together on, Hammond said.

“It is very important to have relations with Iran”, said Bacon, adding, “Iran is an extremely important player in the Middle East and it’s been very disappointing that we’ve not had proper diplomatic relations with them for so long”. The latter were angry about tougher sanctions imposed by the British against the clerical regime for its controversial nuclear program.

He said Russia’s greater involvement in worldwide talks signaled “a new phase” in discussions over its Syrian ally and that there was now an opportunity for Iran to seize upon this.

The US embassy was sacked in the early days of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 by students who feared a repeat of a 1953 coup, when the Central Intelligence Agency orchestrated the overthrow of Iran’s prime minister.

Initially, the British embassy will be headed by a charge d’affaires.

The embassy in Tehran will operate with a small staff and offer a limited range of consular services at first, Hammond said. Several Iranian and British dignitaries, including former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, were seen entering the embassy Sunday morning, but it was unclear exactly when the embassy will formally resume operations.

Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan, reporting from London, said the re-opening of the embassies could pave the way for renewed economic ties between the two countries. He added any U.S. or multilateral sanctions, brought about by Iran’s failure to uphold its end of the agreement, could not be blocked by any other country. Our relationship has improved since 2011.

Mr Hammond told the Telegraph why he had not insisted on Iran paying for the damage as a precondition for reopening the Embassy.

He was “not blind” to areas of contention, including Iran’s human rights record, but the UK would not be able to influence such issues unless it opened a dialogue with the country’s leaders, he said, according to the BBC.


Britain has been cast for decades by opponents inside Iran as a perfidious “Old Fox” or “Little Satan” who does the bidding of “Big Satan”, the United States.

After 2011 attack: Britain and Iran reopen embassies