British Delegation Explores Energy Ties

British Delegation Explores Energy TiesBritish Delegation Explores Energy Ties

A high-ranking UK delegation met with Iranian oil officials in the capital Tehran on Monday to explore areas of energy cooperation.

The 30-member trade and investment delegation is headed by Director General of British-Iranian Chamber of Commerce Martin Johnson and accompanied by former British ambassador to Iran, Richard Dalton, Shana reported. The mission, which arrived in Tehran on Friday for a four-day visit, is the first UK delegation to seek mutual grounds for economic cooperation with Tehran in over a decade.

The British envoys also met with Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh on Sunday.

Nematzadeh welcomed the opening of a new chapter in Iran-UK relations and said Tehran seeks to establish "long-term cooperation based on a win-win strategy" with other nations.

He added that the two countries can cooperate in the upstream oil and gas sector, research and development, marketing, exports and investment as well as mining, industrial and trade sectors.

Diplomatic relations were strained in November 2011 when Iran announced it was expelling the British ambassador in response to London's support for tougher sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program. The UK responded by closing the Iranian Embassy in London later that month.

But the two countries wasted no time to restore diplomatic ties, as Britain reopened its embassy in Tehran a month after the landmark July 14 nuclear agreement, marking an end to a four-year freeze in bilateral diplomatic ties induced by angry protesters storming the British mission.

Iran and six world powers reached a historic deal on July 14 in Vienna that would limit the Persian Gulf country’s nuclear program in return for removing sanctions on its energy and financial industries. The presence of British delegation comes at the heels of closed-door talks between Iranian officials and a group of managers from the British oil and gas major BP in Tehran in September.

European countries are rushing to resume trade with Iran on the prospect of lifting the sanctions. Tehran has hosted top trade delegations from Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Spain, France and Germany in the past few weeks, preparing multibillion-dollar agreements in economic and energy sectors for the post-sanctions period.