0948 GMT April 10, 2021
Iran and Britain have appointed new ambassadors for the first time since 2011 as both countries look to improve their relations.
Both officials presented their credentials to the countries’ foreign ministers on Monday, an Iranian Foreign Ministry official said.
Tehran appointed Hamid Baeidinejad as the country’s new envoy to Britain while London chose Nicholas Hopton, a former British ambassador to Qatar and Yemen, as its envoy in Iran.
Britain shut down its embassy in Tehran in November 2011 and withdrew its diplomatic staff after hundreds of Iranian students staged a protest outside the British Embassy in Tehran against the expansion of UK sanctions on Iran, pulling down the UK flag and demanding the expulsion of the British ambassador.
In late November 2011, Iran’s Parliament approved a bill to downgrade the diplomatic ties between Tehran and London to the level of chargé d'affaires, and limit all economic and cultural collaborations to the minimum level.
Nearly two years after their diplomatic ties were severed, Iran and Britain agreed in October 2013 to appoint non-resident chargés d’affaires as a first step toward reestablishment of their ties.
"The upgrade in diplomatic relations gives us the opportunity to develop our discussions on a range of issues, including our consular cases about which I am deeply concerned," Britain Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a statement.
Iran’s new ambassador to London was a member of the Iran nuclear deal negotiating team and the head of Foreign Ministry's Political and International Affairs Department.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi also pointed to the issue in his weekly press conference on Monday, saying, “One of the issues on our agenda is to upgrade our ties which is sought by both sides.
"However, this does not mean all our problems and differences have been resolved and that our views are the same."