Britain and Iran opened Embassies

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When will the American Flag fly in Tehran?

Britain’s foreign secretary reopened his country’s embassy in Tehran today in a long-awaited step signalling better relations four years after a mob stormed the compound, forcing its closure. Mr Philip Hammond’s two-day trip comes five weeks after Britain and five other world powers struck a deal with Iran to end a 13-year dispute over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program He led a ceremony shortly after noon in the embassy garden with Ajay Sharma, the new charge d’affaires who will be Britain’s top diplomat in Tehran. Iran’s embassy in London also reopened on Sunday. The two nations are expected to appoint ambassadors within months. Mr Hammond, the first British foreign secretary to visit Iran since Jack Straw in 2003, described the violence that shuttered the Tehran mission as “a low point” but said a new journey was beginning. “Over the coming months, we will work to ensure that the nuclear agreement is a success, including by making sure that it is fully implemented by all sides,” Hammond said at the reopening. “Through this embassy’s efforts we will support British trade and investment, once sanctions are lifted. That will bring benefits for Britain and the Iranian people.” Mr Hammond was to later hold a press conference with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister and lead negotiator in the nearly two years of talks that have ended Tehran’s isolation from the West. European officials have been quick to visit Iran since July 14, when the nuclear agreement with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States was announced in Vienna. The deal will see the lifting of economic sanctions — imposed as punishment over Iran’s nuclear programme — in exchange for curbs on its atomic activities and a new inspections regime. Iran’s leaders have always denied international allegations that they sought to develop a nuclear weapon, insisting the programme is for peaceful energy and medical purposes. The nuclear deal has sparked a flurry of interest from countries seeking to reconnect with the oil-rich Islamic republic, whose 78 million people are seen as an untapped market for many industries.

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