UK Speaker Hopes for Quick Restoration of Ties

UK Speaker Hopes for Quick Restoration of TiesUK Speaker Hopes for Quick Restoration of Ties

Britain's House of Commons Speaker John Bercow expressed hope that the "full reopening" of the two countries' embassies would happen in the near future.

"We hope that increased parliamentary relations between the two countries will pave the way for cooperation in other areas and (we hope) to see a boost in London-Tehran ties in political and economic fields," IRNA quoted him as saying on Monday.

Bercow made the remarks in a meeting with the visiting members of the Iran-Britain Parliamentary Friendship Group, headed by lawmaker Abbasali Mansouri Arani, at the British parliament.

Pointing to the participation of some senior British lawmakers in the meeting, he said, "This shows the great significance we attach to our relations with Tehran."

"We are aware of the importance of bilateral ties and will do our utmost to help the restoration of relations," he noted.

Mansouri Arani, for his part, voiced hope that "joint efforts" by the two countries would lead to a "new atmosphere" conducive to improved relations.

Referring to some obstacles to Tehran-London relations, Mansouri reminded, "London should (try to) build trust" to help clear the hurdles.

"The British administration should demonstrate its will to improve the atmosphere of bilateral ties," he stressed.

The lawmaker pointed to the threat the so-called Islamic State (IS) terrorist group poses to the region and the West, saying, "Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) has been created and supported by the West and today has turned out to be a serious threat."

The parliamentarian said the involvement of the West in the anti-terror campaign is only "for show" and "they should start a real fight against terrorism."

***Not Clinging to the Past

"These are the realities on the ground which require attention. However, we do not want to cling to the past and are waiting for your positive measures," he added.

The parliamentary delegation's trip has been made in response to a visit by members of the Britain-Iran Parliamentary Friendship Group to Iran in late 2013, led by former foreign secretary Jack Straw.

Britain cut its ties with Tehran in 2011 and withdrew its diplomatic staff from Iran and ordered the staff of the Iranian Embassy in London to leave. The move came after an angry group stormed the British Embassy to protest London's policy on Iran. The Majlis had earlier voted to downgrade diplomatic relations with the former colonial power.

Nearly two years later in October 2013 and following the election of President Hassan Rouhani, the two sides agreed to appoint non-resident chargés d’affaires as a first step toward normalizing ties.