London and Tehran are to resume some direct diplomatic relations, in another sign that the West is warming to the overtures of Iran’s new president.
But Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons that progress would depend on actions rather than rhetoric, notably on the Iranian nuclear programme.
“In the absence of change to these policies, we will continue to maintain strong sanctions,” he said. “A substantial change in British or Western policies requires a substantive change in that programme. However, we must test the Iranian government’s sincerity to the full and it is important that our channels of communication are open for that.”
Two years ago, an angry mob ransacked Britain’s embassy in Tehran. Britain immediately withdrew its staff, shut the embassy and ejected Iranian diplomats from London. Now, four months after President Hassan Rohani’s election, the countries will exchange non-resident charge d’affaires, with a view to the eventual re-opening of both their embassies.