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World Politics

UK starts talks with Iran to ease relations


Britain and Iran have started talks aimed at restoring diplomatic relations two years after an angry mob ransacked the UK embassy, the Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.

The announcement reflects a significant thawing in Iran’s relations with the West, which imposed tough economic sanctions on Tehran after the incident. Mr Hague said there had been a “marked change” for the better in Iran’s approach since Hassan Rouhani was elected president in June, replacing hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “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 told Parliament.

Britain’s two diplomatic compounds in Tehran were overrun in November 2011 in what London said was a co-ordinated attack, after a rally against British sanctions escalated into violence.