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Parliament ready to form friendship group with UK

TEHRAN, Dec. 4, 2013 (Press TV) A senior Iranian lawmaker has expressed Irans preparedness to form a parliamentary friendship group with Britain based on mutual respect.

"If Britain treats Iran with...mutual respect and according to international conventions, Parliament is ready to form a parliamentary friendship group with the country," said Spokesman for the Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Hossein Naqavi Hosseini on Monday.

"Parliament believes in active parliamentary diplomacy and if Iran-UK ties resume based on mutual respect, it is ready to cooperate," he added.

The remarks come as Irans non-resident charges daffaires to the UK Mohammad Hassan Habibollahzadeh announced in an interview that his British counterpart Ajay Sharma would head to Tehran on Tuesday.

Naqavi Hosseini said that the current level of bilateral relations is beneath the dignity of the Islamic Republic and Tehran and London must make a final decision and appoint charge daffaires or ambassadors.

Iran and Britain agreed on October 8 to appoint non-resident chargés daffaires as a first step toward reopening their embassies.

The development followed a September meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and British Foreign Secretary William Hague in New York, during which they discussed, among other issues, the improvement of Tehran-London relations.

Also on November 19, British Prime Minister David Cameron held a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in the first such call between a UK premier and an Iranian president in more than a decade, and discussed a wide range of issues including resumption of bilateral relations with the Iranian chief executive.

On November 27, 2011, Iranian lawmakers voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic ties with the United Kingdom, in response to Britains decision to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran over the allegation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Two days after the decision by Irans Parliament, hundreds of Iranian students staged a protest outside the British Embassy in Tehran and pulled down the UK flag.

On November 30 of the same year, London cut off its ties with Tehran, withdrew its diplomatic staff from Iran and the Iranian Embassy in London was closed.



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