Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and UK Prime Minister Theresa May
Iran and Britain say relations between the two countries have developed positively since last year’s nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries and that both sides should continue to advance the relationship.
In a telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran welcomes the further development of cooperation with London.
Rouhani congratulated the premier on taking office and said Iran and Britain witnessed positive developments after the implementation of the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on January 16.
“All efforts should focus on accelerating the careful implementation of the JCPOA and strengthening its roots,” he added.
He noted that strengthening banking relations between Tehran and London would help the two sides accelerate cooperation.
Rouhani pointed to Britain’s influential role in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the six global powers and emphasized that London should also help accelerate the historical deal.
The JCPOA between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia - plus Germany envisages Tehran scaling back its nuclear program in return for the lifting of all nuclear-related sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
However, months after the agreement went into effect, the US and the European Union continue to maintain some sanctions on Iran, scaring off companies from resuming trade with the country.
European banks have balked at the idea of resuming transaction with Iran, fearing punitive US measures. US Republicans, meanwhile, are pushing through three anti-Iran bills in the Congress.
Rouhani also stressed the importance of adopting collective measures to fight terrorism and said, “The intensification of terrorist moves in the region and the world necessitate the consultation, convergence, coordination and cooperation of countries in this fight and Tehran welcomes enhanced consultation and discussion with London in this area.”
Rouhani called for efforts to solve regional problems through dialogue.
The British prime minister, for her part, underlined that London would continue to play an active role in support of full implementation of the JCPOA, including efforts to enhance banking cooperation between the two countries.
She highlighted the importance of economic relations, especially in the banking and insurance sectors, and said Britain would make efforts to encourage British and European banks to boost cooperation with Iran, IRNA quoted May as saying.
According to IRNA, the British premier urged collective cooperation on the campaign against terrorism and said London welcomes cooperation with Tehran in this regard.
In August 2015, then British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond paid a historic visit to Tehran and went to the embassy’s premises to reopen the headquarters of the British diplomatic mission to Iran, which had been closed since November 2011.
Britain closed the embassy and withdrew its diplomatic staff after hundreds of Iranian students staged a protest outside the diplomatic premises in Tehran against the expansion of UK sanctions on Iran, pulling down the UK flag and demanding the expulsion of the British ambassador.
The resumed diplomatic relations between the two countries will continue at the level of chargé d’affaires until the appointment of ambassadors.