Press release

Foreign Secretary to reopen British Embassy in Tehran

The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, visits Tehran to re-open the British Embassy.

The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, will visit Tehran on 23 and 24 August to re-open the British Embassy. This will be the first visit to Iran by a British Foreign Secretary since 2003, and comes four years after the Embassy closed in 2011.

The reopening of the Embassy will be marked by a ceremony attended by the Foreign Secretary, the new UK Chargé d’affaires Mr Ajay Sharma, and representatives of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and wider diplomatic community.

A small trade delegation will also travel to Tehran with Mr Hammond and the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Damian Hinds MP to discuss possible future trade opportunities following last month’s historical nuclear agreement which could lead to the lifting of sanctions.

Iran’s Embassy in London will also reopen on 23 August.

The Foreign Secretary said:

Four years on from an attack on the British Embassy, I am today re-opening it. The Iranians will simultaneously re-open their embassy in London. Our relationship has improved since 2011. President Rouhani’s election and last month’s nuclear agreement were important milestones. I believe that we have the potential to go much further.

Reopening our Embassies is a key step to improved bilateral relations. In the first instance, we will want to ensure that the nuclear agreement is a success, including by encouraging trade and investment once sanctions are lifted. Britain and Iran should also be ready to discuss the challenges we both face including terrorism, regional stability, the spread of ISIL in Syria and Iraq, counter-narcotics and migration.

This move does not mean that we agree on everything. But it is right that Britain and Iran should have a presence in each other’s countries. The role of Embassies is to build co-operation where we agree and to reduce our differences where we don’t.

Initially, the Embassy will be led by a Chargé d’affaires with a small staff offering a limited range of consular services. Over the months ahead we expect to agree with the Iranians an upgrading of our respective mission leaders to full Ambassador status and to be able to offer a full range of services.

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