Iran is a ‘large power’ in Middle East: Philip Hommond

August 24, 2015

TEHRAN – British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond who have visited Tehran to reopen the British embassy in Tehran called Iran a “large power with large economy” in the Middle East region.

“Iran is a large power in the region with large economy,” Hammond said in a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday afternoon.

Iran has a large economy so it is in every one’s interest that Iran remains engaged and that Iran has responsibility in favor of regional stability, Hammond said hours after he reopened the British embassy in Tehran.

Concurrent with the reopening of the British embassy in Tehran the Iranian embassy was also opened in London.

Hammond said he felt “delighted” about the reopening of Iranian and British embassies, saying they serve as “important practical channels” to engage on “many issues we have shared interests.”

Reopening embassies is a first step toward reestablishing the links between the “British people and Iranian people”, Hammond said. 

Hammond noted that “our embassies play an important role in maintaining” dialogue between Tehran and London.

The British foreign secretary said he is looking forward to a sustained dialogue and mutually beneficially cooperation between Britain and Iran.

The top British diplomat also referred to his talks with Iran’s Oil Minister, Bijan Zangeneh, saying the business delegates accompanying him are “more than willing” to invest in Iran once sanctions against the Islamic Republic are lifted.

He said Iran’s petroleum industry has shown “openness” to foreign investment. 

Hammond referred to Iran’s nuclear agreement with six world powers as a “major step” which would help the two countries “rebuild economic relationships.”

He expressed assurances that “trust will be rebuilt” through the implementation of the nuclear agreement officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Hammond was accompanied by Treasury Minister Damian Hinds and a trade delegation for the two-day visit starting Sunday.

When asked about the protest against reopening his country’s embassy in Tehran, Hammond answered “as my mother told me sticks and stones may break my bones but words don’t hurt me.”

Hommond said that areas of disagreement remain between the two countries but they will focus on “areas of interest and mutual benefits” between the two countries.

‘Resolving differences through mutual understanding’

Zarif said Tehran and London could resolve “differences through interaction and reaching a mutual understanding.”

Zarif noted that Iran and Britain share views about fighting extremism, Daesh, and drug trafficking in the region, Press TV reported. 

He said the reopening of the embassies could be a restart of Iran-Britain relations. “Today, we entered the phase of mutual relationship based on mutual respect.”

“We are ready to resolve problems through dialogue on issues we have differences, like human rights,” he said. 

Answering to a question on the Islamic Republic’s relations with its neighbors, the foreign minister said, “Iran will engage with all its neighbors… exclusion is not our policy.”

“If we try to gain at the expense of others, all of us will lose,” Zarif said. “We call upon our neighbors to respond positively to this approach.”