Posted: 1:46 pm EDT
Updated: 2:31 pm EDT
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— Foreign Office (FCO) (@foreignoffice) August 23, 2015
— UK for Iranians (@UKinIran) August 23, 2015
Speaking at the re-opening ceremony of the British Embassy in Iran, the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, has said:
I am delighted to be here today. I am the first British Foreign Secretary to visit Tehran since Jack Straw in 2003, and only the third British Minister to visit since 1979. It’s a huge pleasure and privilege to be here.
This Embassy, and this beautiful compound, is a special place. Britain acquired in it 1869 for 20,000 tomans, then £8,000. A huge sum, in those days, but it has repaid us many times.
It has witnessed great moments in the history of both Iran and Britain. The Bast of 1906 that led to Iran acquiring its first Constitution and National Assembly, for example. And the Tehran Conference of 1943, when Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin dined here and planned a second military front in Europe.
The attack in 2011 which forced our Embassy to close was a low point. But since the election of President Rouhani, we have seen our relationship steadily improve, step by step. In 2014, we appointed non-resident Chargés. Last autumn, Prime Minister David Cameron met President Rouhani in New York, the first meeting at that level since 1979 between the leaders of our countries.
Last month’s historic nuclear agreement was another milestone, and showed the power of diplomacy, conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect, to solve shared challenges.
Re-opening the Embassy is the logical next step. To build confidence and trust between two great nations.
Iran is, and will remain, an important country in a strategically important but volatile region. Maintaining dialogue around the world, even under difficult conditions, is critical. And Embassies are the primary means of achieving this.
Mr. Hammond thanked the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish Embassy, represented by their Chargé, Ewa Nilsson, “for their generous and unstinting solidarity over the last four years, initially acting as the UK’s protecting power, and continuing to help us with all manner of ways in areas from consular to finance,” and its Embassy staff, for their “commitment and loyalty over the years.”
VIDEO: UK embassy in Iran reopens http://t.co/Dk5yj25rLB
— Blogs of War (@BlogsofWar) August 23, 2015
Iran-UK relations: 12 moments in a troubled history http://t.co/DS3p3EVF8n
— The Guardian (@guardian) August 23, 2015
— Philip Hammond (@PHammondMP) August 23, 2015