UK & World News
Iran: Britain To Appoint Charge D'Affaires
Britain is to appoint a non-residential charge d'affaires for Iran, Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries broke down in 2011, but Mr Hague told parliament: "Both our countries will now appoint a non-resident charge d'affaires tasked with implementing the building of relations, including interim steps on the way towards (the) eventual reopening of both our embassies."
He said the coming months "may be unusually significant" in British-Iranian relations, which have been beset by argument over the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme.
The recent election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has raised hopes of a thaw in relations between Iran and the West and a possible deal over the programme.
But Mr Hague warned there were still several competing centres of power in Iran and that Tehran would need to make "substantive changes" if it wanted the West to ease sanctions.
"Iran remains in defiance of six UN Security Council resolutions ... and it is installing more centrifuges in its nuclear facilities," he said.
"In the absence of substantial change to these policies, we will continue to maintain strong sanctions.
"A substantial change in British or Western policies requires a substantive change in that programme."
Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed Mr Rouhani's election earlier this year, but said ties remain strained because of the ransacking of the British Embassy in Tehran in 2011.
That incident led to one of the worst crises between the two countries since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The latest developments come two weeks after Mr Rouhani confirmed his country was prepared to restart stalled negotiations over its nuclear programme.
In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, he said that he wanted to enter talks to build "mutual confidence" - but warned the international community should also recognise Iran's right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.