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Iran: Tehran and London agree to representation

Iran: Tehran and London agree to representation

Iran has agreed with Britain to have other countries' embassies represent the two nations in each other's capitals, the state media reported on Thursday. Britain was unable to confirm the report.
Both countries shut down their diplomatic missions last year amid rising tensions over Britain's prominent participation in efforts by the West to pressure Iran over its controversial nuclear program. Iranian hardliners stormed Britain's embassy in Tehran in November, while Iranian lawmakers voted to downgrade relations to the level of charge d'affaires from ambassador-level.
Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi now says in remarks carried by the state IRNA presss agency that the two countries have agreed to have their interests represented by third parties: the Omani Embassy in London will now handle Iran's interests, while the Swedish Embassy in Tehran will do the same for Britain.
In London, Britain's Foreign Ministry could not immediately confirm Thursday whether the nations had finalized an agreement. Representatives of Sweden and Oman could not immediately be reached for comment.
Britain's embassy in Tehran has been closed down multiple times since early 1950s. The two countries have had a history of bitter relations over the past decades on various issues from the nationalization of Iran's oil industry in the 1950s, to the 1979 Islamic revolution, and the 1989 issuance by late Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill British writer Salman Rushdie because his novel "The Satanic Verses" allegedly insulted Islam.
The current point of contention is Iran's nuclear program. The West suspects Iran of trying to develop weapons technology. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.
For its part, Tehran regularly accuses Britain of meddling in Iran's internal affairs, a charge London denies.
Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague met with Salehi on June 14, on the sidelines of an international conference in Kabul _ their first talks since the U.K. downgraded ties with Tehran in response to the storming of the British embassy in the Iranian capital last November.
At the time, Hague said he expected an agreement to be confirmed _ to allow another European nation to offer consular help to Britons in Iran, and carry out other administrative work on Britain's behalf.
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Associated Press writer David Stringer in London contributed to this report


Updated : 2021-03-04 14:18 GMT+08:00