TEHRAN - Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who is now a parliament member, is slated to a pay an official visit to Iran in early January, a prominent Iranian legislator announced on Tuesday.
“British officials have asked for the visit and we also agreed with it,” Head of Iran-Britain Parliamentary Friendship Group Abbasali Mansouri told FNA on Tuesday.
“And we will pay a reciprocal visit to Britain after his visit,” he added.
He pointed to his upcoming meeting with Iran’s non-resident charge d’affaires to Britain Mohammad Hassan Habibollahzadeh, and said, “During this session we will make decisions about how the visit of the British parliamentary delegation to Tehran will be.”
Earlier this month, Britain’s new non-resident charge d’affaires to Iran Ajay Sharma paid a visit to Iran to hold consultations with Iranian officials and reopen Britain’s mission to Iran.
Sharma’s visit was the first trip by a British diplomat to Iran since ties between Tehran and London were severed in 2011.
“I had a good first visit back to Tehran and want to thank the Iranian authorities, particularly my counterpart (Mohammad Hassan) Habibollahzadeh, for facilitating the trip,” Sharma said in a statement issued by the UK Foreign Office.
“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 added.
In October, Iran and Britain agreed to announce the names of their non-resident charges d’affaires.
In a meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York City on September 23, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his British counterpart William Hague discussed improvement of Tehran-London relations, Iran’s nuclear energy program as well as regional developments.
On November 27, 2011, Iranian lawmakers voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic ties with the United Kingdom, in response to Britain’s decision to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran over the allegation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Two days after the decision by the Iranian parliament, hundreds of Iranian students staged a protest outside the British Embassy in Tehran and pulled down the UK flag.
On November 30, 2011, London cut off its ties with Tehran, withdrew its diplomatic staff from Iran and the Iranian Embassy in London was closed.