Iranian lawmakers to visit Britain

Comment on this story
IOL pic nov1 iran rouhani Reuters Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York.

London - Iranian parliamentarians will come to London in the next few months, the first such visit in years, as Iran and Britain try to improve their damaged relations, a group of British lawmakers said on Tuesday.

The visit was agreed during a trip to Iran this month by a four-man delegation from the British parliament that met Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and senior lawmakers.

“We formally invited the Iranian Majlis (parliament) and they formally accepted,” Jeremy Corbyn, a Labour parliamentarian who was in the delegation, told Reuters, adding that a date had yet to be finalised but that it would be before the summer.

Britain severed direct diplomatic relations with Iran after activists stormed its embassy in Tehran more than two years ago.

However, the election of a relative moderate, President Hassan Rouhani, paved the way for a thaw in ties which has helped Tehran strike a preliminary agreement about its disputed nuclear programme with six world powers, including Britain.

Britain appointed a non-resident charge d'affaires to Iran in November, reviving direct ties, a step mirrored by Tehran. The British parliamentary delegation, led by former Foreign Scretary Jack Straw, visited Tehran from Jan. 6 to 10.

During a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday, the four lawmakers said they had inspected the disused British embassy in Tehran. It was closed in 2011 after a rally against British sanctions turned violent and protesters scaled the walls, ransacked offices and burned buildings.

They said its walls were daubed with graffiti reading “Down with the English” but that they thought it could be restored to full working order fairly quickly providing the Iranian authorities provided assurances about the future staff safety.

“This won't get any easier the longer we leave it,” said Straw. “There's a window (of opportunity)”. He said the British government should make it a high priority to get staff working there again.

Straw said such a step could help British business people revive trade ties with Iran despite international sanctions, something he said their counterparts in Western Europe were doing already.


sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines