Close to four years after a group of protesters stormed the United Kingdom Embassy in Iran that triggered a dramatic breakdown in diplomatic relations, Britain has restored is presence diplomatically in the capital of Tehran.
Philip Hammond the Foreign Secretary of the UK said he is delighted to be in Tehran for the embassy’s reopening in what is the first ministerial visit by Britain to Iran in over a decade.
Iran reported on Sunday that its London embassy had been reopened in a move that was coordinated and reflects an improvement in the ties between both nations.
The move is just weeks after a new deal was made by Iran on its controversial nuclear program with six other world powers, although the plans for Britain’s reopening of its embassy were announced last summer.
Hammond said that the ceremony marked the end of a long term journey but the start of a new and exciting one.
He called the embassy and the diplomatic compound a special place that witnessed important moments in history for both Britain and Iran.
While the 2011 attack was a low point, the British diplomat added that the relationship of the two countries had improved steadily since Hassan Rouhani was elected president two years ago.
The election of Rouhani has been seen widely as being the launch of more positive interactions with countries in the West.
During his speech, Hammond pointed out how important the role of Iran was within the wider Middle East.
The two countries will have to tackle the common challenges of the region including regional stability, terrorism, the spread of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, illegal drug trading and migration.
The British embassy in Tehran will have a small staff and just limited consular services to start.
A trade delegation accompanied Hammond on his trip to Tehran.
The student protesters’ assault on the embassy in November of 2011 prompted great outrage and led to Britain closing its doors and withdrawing its staff from the country.