|Iran, Britain resume direct diplomatic contacts||
TEHRAN – Iran and Britain have officially resumed direct diplomatic contacts through non-resident chargé d'affaires rather than via third-country intermediaries.
“After the meeting of our ministers in last September in New York, they agreed to re-establish the relations between Iran and the UK. In the next step, they introduced two chargés d’affaires and from today 20th February we start our direct contact with each other. Then, right now, there is a direct relation between the two countries,” said Iran’s non-resident chargé d’affaires to Britain, Mohammad Hassan Habibollahzadeh, on Thursday.
Also, a British Foreign Office spokesman told AFP, "The UK has agreed with Iran that from today bilateral relations will be conducted directly through non-resident charge d'affaires and officials.”
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. The students were protesting at Western sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program.
Under the power arrangements, Oman was hosting Iran's interest section in London, while Sweden acted for the UK in Tehran. "We will no longer have Protecting Powers acting as intermediaries. Diplomatic contact will now be made direct between our two countries. Sweden will cease to be the UK's Protecting Power on 20 February 2014. Oman will cease to be Iran's Protecting Power in the UK," the spokesperson said, according to the Guardian.
Despite this, the British and Iranian embassies in their respective capitals remain closed until capitals decide to upgrade to a full diplomatic status.
On Thursday, the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran rose over the Iranian embassy in London as the mission is giving a limited consular service.
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