British Foreign Secretary William Hague described the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme as an “important moment; an encouraging moment, in our relations with Iran, and in our efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation in the world”.
He was speaking to Sky News in Geneva soon after the agreement was signed.
On the economic sanctions imposed on Iran, Mr. Hague said the present agreement would give Tehran “some relief” that would be “proportionate and limited” from sanctions.
However, “the great bulk of sanctions will remain in place,” Mr. Hague said, “until there is a comprehensive and final agreement that gives the world the necessary assurances that, for the future, Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes”.
Diplomatic ties between Iran and the U.K. broke after Iranian protesters attacked the British Embassy in Tehran in 2011.
The protesters were commemorating the death anniversary of Iranian nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari who, the then Iranian government alleged, was murdered in a joint operation by Israel’s Mossad and the British MI6.
What started as a peaceful demonstration soon turned violent with the attackers causing extensive damage to the building and premises.
The U.K. expelled the Iranian envoy following this incident, an action the Iranians reciprocated.
Relations between the two countries thawed after the present Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, made an appeal for reconciliation between Iran and western powers, during a session of the U.N. General Assembly.
A fortnight ago Britain appointed Ajay Sharma as the non-resident charge d’affaires to Iran, which appointed Mohammad Hassan Habibollah as charge d’affaires to Britain.