|New British envoy makes ‘constructive’ Iran visit||
TEHRAN – Britain’s new envoy to Tehran Ajay Sharma visited Iran on Tuesday, the first such visit in nearly two years since the two countries almost severed their diplomatic ties in 2011.
Sharma, who has traveled to Iran as British non-resident charge d'affaires, said he held detailed and constructive discussions with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“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 said after the visit, according to the British Foreign Office.
“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,” he added.
Iran named Mohammad Hassan Habibollahzadeh as the country’s non-resident charge d'affaires to London - a diplomatic post that is one level below ambassador - last month.
The two countries agreed to restore ties after meetings between Iranian and British foreign ministers on the sidelines of the 68th Annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York in late September.
Sharma said he also visited the British embassy compounds “to assess the damage caused” in November 2011.
“I intend to visit Iran regularly to continue the step by step process of improving relations between our two countries,” Sharma added.
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 the victory in June elections of moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani as Iranian president with a pledge to engage the world constructively, London and Tehran have been working toward restoring ties.
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