New UK Envoy Hopes for Enhanced Ties

New UK Envoy Hopes for Enhanced TiesNew UK Envoy Hopes for Enhanced Ties

Britain’s newly appointed Chargé d’Affaires Nicholas Hopton, who started his mission on Thursday, said he will try to contribute to the positive development of Tehran-London relations in the new climate of cooperation between the two sides.

Hopton was appointed the British chargé d’affaires to Iran to replace Ajay Sharma, who assumed his new role as British Ambassador to Qatar, according to Tasnim News Agency.

On his appointment, Hopton said, “I’m delighted to be posted to Tehran as chargé d’affaires. I hope that it will be possible soon for both the UK and Iran to be represented by full ambassadors in which case I will be glad to serve in that capacity.”

“This is an important moment for relations between the UK and Iran, which we hope will continue to develop positively following the reopening of embassies.”

Hopton noted that he is looking forward to contributing to the enhancement of bilateral relations in the new spirit of cooperation between the two countries.

He moved to Tehran from Doha where he was British ambassador to Qatar from 2013 to 2015, according to the British Government’s website.

Hopton joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1989 and has previously served as British ambassador to Yemen.

The British Embassy in Tehran reopened on August 23 after a 4-year closure. Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond attended a ceremony in Tehran to mark the reopening. It was the first visit by a British foreign secretary to Iran since 2003.

Simultaneously, Iran’s Embassy in London reopened.

The thaw in Iran-Britain relations follows finalization of a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and P5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) on July 14.

The two countries’ ties soured in 2011. On November 27, 2011, a large majority of Iranian lawmakers voted to downgrade diplomatic ties with Britain, following Britain’s decision to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran.

Later, angry protesters stormed the British Embassy and pulled down the European country’s flag.

Following the incident, Britain withdrew its diplomatic staff from Tehran on November 30 and asked Iran’s diplomatic delegation in London to leave within 48 hours.

After the government of President Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013, the two sides made diplomatic efforts to amend ties.