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After Nearly 4 Years, British Embassy Reopens In Tehran

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif deliver a joint news conference following their meeting in Tehran, on Sunday, as the British embassy is reopened after being shuttered for nearly four years.

The British embassy in Tehran has been reopened for the first time since it was attacked by "students" and forced to close nearly four years ago.

The BBC reports: "[Foreign Secretary Philip] Hammond attended a ceremony in Tehran with Iranian diplomats to mark the reopening while Iran will reopen its embassy in London later."

As we reported at the end of November 2011:

"Protesters described by state media as 'students' broke into the British embassy in Tehran today, some throwing stones and 'petrol bombs' and others getting inside and destroying documents. There were also reports of an attack on a second British diplomatic compound.

"This follows the vote by Iran's parliament on Sunday to further reduce ties with the U.K. because of Britain's support for tighter sanctions on Iran due to its suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons."

London responded by expelling Iranian diplomats.

But at the ceremony in Tehran today, Hammond described that as a "low point" in relations between the U.K. and Iran, but said that since the election of President Hassan Rouhani they had "steadily improved, step by step."

"Today's ceremony marks the end of one long journey, and the start of a new, and, I believe, exciting one," he said, adding that reopening the embassy was the "logical next step to build confidence and trust between two great nations" after last month's nuclear agreement, according to The Associated Press.

"Over the coming months, we will work to ensure that the nuclear agreement is a success, including by making sure that it is fully implemented by all sides," Hammond said.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the reopening of the diplomatic compound showed that Iran has a "constructive role" to play in the region and around the world.

"Of course, we have differences with some European countries but that can be negotiated through interaction, with open eyes and a realistic approach," Zarif said.

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