New British envoy makes 'constructive' Iran visit
Britain's new non-resident envoy to Iran Ajay Sharma says he has held "detailed and constructive" talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Hassan Habibollahzadeh and other officials, Press TV reported.
The new British non-resident charge d'affaires to Iran arrived in Tehran on Dec 3, becoming the first British diplomat to travel to the country since ties were severed in 2011.
"I had a good first visit back to Tehran today and want to thank the Iranian authorities, particularly my counterpart Mr Habibollahzadeh, for facilitating the trip," Sharma said in a statement issued by the UK Foreign Office.
"I held detailed and constructive discussions with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about taking forward our bilateral relationship on a step-by-step and reciprocal basis," he added.
Iran and Britain agreed earlier in October to appoint non-resident chargés d'affaires as a first step toward reopening their respective embassies.
The development followed a September meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and British Foreign Secretary William Hague in New York, during which they discussed the ways to improve Tehran-London ties based on mutual respect.
On November 13, Britain declared the decision to revive diplomatic ties with Iran by appointing a non-resident charge d'affaires.
On November 19, British Prime Minister David Cameron also held a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in the first such call between a UK premier and an Iranian president in more than a decade, and discussed, among other issues, the resumption of bilateral relations with the Iranian chief executive.
On November 27, 2011, Iranian lawmakers voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic ties with the UK, in response to Britain's decision to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran over the allegation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Two days after the decision by Iran's parliament, hundreds of Iranian students staged a protest outside the British Embassy in Tehran and pulled down the UK flag.
On November 30 of the same year, London cut off its ties with Tehran, withdrew its diplomatic staff from Iran and the Iranian Embassy in London was closed.