FM Says No Change in Policy Toward UK

FM Says No Change  in Policy Toward UK  FM Says No Change  in Policy Toward UK

The Foreign Ministry in Tehran says Britain's decision on Thursday to opt out of the European Union will not affect Iran's relationship with that country.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a democratic system, respects the vote of the British people," the ministry said in a statement on Friday, ISNA reported.

"Iran has always preferred promotion of relations with European countries based on reciprocal respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs and the development (Brexit) will not alter the policy toward Britain," the statement said.

Britons voted 52-48% to leave the bloc their country joined more than 40 years ago, dealing the biggest blow since World War Two to the European project of forging greater unity.

The vote though not unexpected, forced the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, a plunge in global stock markets and the biggest one-day drop ever in the British currency.

  Historic Opportunity

Hamid Aboutalebi, President Hassan Rouhani's deputy chief of staff for political affairs, described the occasion as a "historic opportunity" for Iran.

"We should make the most of this new opportunity," he said without elaboration.

Britain opting out of the club is akin to a "tremendous earthquake" rocking Europe, he noted.

"The stars of the EU flag are dropping… Economic developments in southern Europe, the spread of terrorism and the migrant crisis all point to the imminent collapse of this unity. Brexit has triggered a domino effect that could ultimately lead to the demise [of the EU]."

He said the Europeans have long lost confidence in the bloc, predicting that the UK departure will result in more  power and improved security and welfare for other countries.

The United Kingdom itself could now break apart, with the leader of Scotland, where nearly two-thirds of voters wanted to stay in the EU, saying a new referendum on independence from the rest of Britain was "highly likely", Reuters reported.

  Public Repudiation

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a MP, highlighted the possible outcome of Britain's pullout, saying, "Significant aftershocks could follow the decision by the British public."

"It might lead Scotland and some other EU countries to also call for referendums."

Boroujerdi, who chairs the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said the vote reflected the public repudiation of London "blindly" following the policies of the United States.

"The leave vote was a big 'no' to its government's subservience to Washington."

US President Barack Obama on Friday tried to limit the damage from Britain's exit which could harm the US economic recovery and distract US allies from global security issues.

Obama, who had argued in favor of remain camp during a visit to Britain this year, said Washington would still maintain both its "special relationship" with London and close ties to Brussels.

There was euphoria among Britain's eurosceptic forces, claiming a victory over the political establishment, big business and foreign leaders, including Obama.

  US Stands to Benefit

Meanwhile a political analyst said the new development serves the US interests by undermining two of its main rivals.

"I believe the United States will benefit more than any other player or affected party," Mehdi Motahharnia told IRNA.

"Despite neo-Democrat Obama's support gesture for Britain's continued membership in the EU…, the US has benefitted from the weakened positions of the two international players."

"Although both the EU and Britain are among US allies, they have been tough [economic and political] rivals for the US," Motahharnia added.

  Bargaining Position

Another international expert Diako Hosseini argued that Brexit should give a short-term boost to the Islamic Republic's bargaining position in its relations with the European Union.

"Britain's withdrawal … might increase Iran's bargaining power with the bloc and lead to Europe acting more independently of the United States," Hosseini said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to meet French, German and Italian leaders in Berlin on Monday to discuss future steps, and the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, met yesterday. World leaders including Obama, Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping, as well as NATO and Commonwealth governments, had all supported a "Remain" vote, saying Britain would be more influential in the EU.