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                                        Volume. 12160
British envoy says committed to progress on Iran-UK ties
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_02_am2(220).jpgTEHRAN – The UK non-resident charge d’affaires to Tehran says he is committed to the efforts meant to restore full diplomatic relations between Iran and Britain.   
 
“I am in Iran for my fifth visit as non-resident charge d'affaires. I am committed to continue making progress on improving UK-Iran relations,” Ajay Sharma said on Twitter on Wednesday. 
 
Britain ordered the closure of Iran’s embassy in London after closing its own in Tehran following the storming of the compound by hundreds of angry students in November 2011.
 
They were protesting at Western sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program.
 
However, after last year’s election of moderate Hassan Rouhani as Iranian president with a pledge to engage the world constructively, London and Tehran have been working toward restoring ties.
 
Direct contacts have been steadily increasing since September, when British Foreign Minister William Hague met his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, at the UN general assembly. 
 
Both countries have since appointed non-resident charges d'affaires. Limited consular activities resumed in February, and there has been a series of exchange visits, including a trip to Tehran by Simon Gass, director-general (political) at the British Foreign Office.
 
Gass, a former ambassador to Tehran, has been the highest-ranking British diplomat to visit Tehran since relations were severed.
 
The Iranian deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, has recently said that Iran is prepared to discuss financial compensation for the 2011 attack on the British embassy as part of an overall agreement to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries, but it will not offer a formal apology. 
 
AM/PA

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