Iran invites former UK foreign secretary to Tehran
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 6
By Umid Niayesh, Saeed Isayev - Trend:
Iranian parliament has extended an invitation to former UK foreign secretary Jack Straw, to visit Tehran, head of parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi said, Mehr news agency reported on Dec. 6.
Boroujerdi noted that the invitation was sent to Straw from the head of Iran-UK parliamentary Friendship Group, Abbas Ali Mansouri Arani.
Without revealing any details, Boroujerdi said Straw has accepted the invitation.
Mansouri also reportedly requested that the friendship group plays a more active role in strengthening Iran-UK relations.
On July 4, Straw, in his interview to BBC, Straw said things were looking "more hopeful' with Hassan Rouhani becoming Iran's new president, adding that there was no evidence of Iran going towards building a nuclear bomb.
ISNA news agency quoted Straw at the time that he plans to travel Iran soon with the aim of improving ties between London and Tehran.
In response to Straw's comments, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said on July 16 that the country welcomes the idea of Straw visiting Tehran. Araqchi noted that "Iran would be happy if Straw visits the country, since Iran's policy is aimed at softening tensions between it and the EU".
Straw's visit would be the first to Iran by a British foreign secretary since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Last October it was reported that the UK and Iran agreed on the appointment of a charges d'affaires to restore diplomatic relations which were broken off after intruders attacked the British Embassy in Tehran in 2011.
The relationship had long been tense because of disagreements over Iran's nuclear programme. Relations were even more complicated by Iran's allegations of involvement of the UK security services in organising terrorist acts in Tehran on November 29, 2010 that killed nuclear physicist Majid Shahriari.
In December 2010, the Iranian parliament approved a bill providing for a complete break of diplomatic relations with Britain.