UK MP Admits Past Mistakes

UK MP Admits Past MistakesUK MP Admits Past Mistakes

Acknowledging the “mistakes” the UK has committed in its past relations with Iran, the British shadow foreign secretary promised that his side will apply “goodwill” to help mend bilateral ties.

“We know we made mistakes in our relations with Iran in the past, but we want to create a good future and show goodwill to make constructive and positive efforts,” Douglas Alexander said in a meeting with members of the Iran-Britain Parliamentary Friendship Group in London on Tuesday, noting, “We do not deny (our guilt in) the past but do not want to keep living in the past.”

Increased exchange of delegations between the two countries can help build a better mutual understanding, the Labour Party politician said.

“I am seriously pursuing the reopening of our embassy in Tehran,” IRNA quoted him as saying.  

  Regional Role Stressed

Underlining the significant part Iran plays in the region and the world, he said Britain is ready to perform a “positive role” in the nuclear negotiations between Tehran and the major powers. “We are interested in cooperating with Iran in various fields to help deal with the existing challenges.”

The head of the Iranian delegation pointed to the great resources Iran enjoys, saying, “We have learned from past experience to cooperate based on our national interests.”

“The capabilities and capacities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are so great that its role and status in the region cannot be ignored,” Abbasali Mansouri Arani added. The lawmaker referred to the history of relations between the two countries, saying, “The Iranian nation does not have a positive attitude toward Britain. However, we do not want to stay and live in the past either.”

  Altering Negative Attitude

The Iranian delegation also met with UK Government Minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Tobias Ellwood on Tuesday.

Highlighting Iran’s “very important role” as a “key player” in the region, Tobias expressed hope for quick normalization of London-Tehran ties.

“Britain should adopt an effective policy to atone for the past and change (Iranian’s) negative attitude,” he stated. 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.

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 restoration of ties.