Top Security Official Calls on Britain to Correct Perception of Iran's Real Power

Top Security Official Calls on Britain to Correct Perception of Iran's Real Power ... 24/08/2015 Politics

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TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani in a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond called on London to correct its previous perception of Tehran's real power in a bid to improve bilateral relations.
During the meeting in Tehran on Monday, Shamkhani referred to the age-old ups and downs in relations between the two countries, and said moving towards sustainable relations based on confidence-building and mutual respect meets the two countries' interests.
He also pointed to the recent nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers and the necessity for changing views and avoiding fueling certain unconstructive misunderstandings, and said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran has gained its power from popular backup, a wise leader and balanced and stabilizing regional and international polices, and a correct and real understanding of this fact will facilitate start of new cooperation."
Hammond, for his part, stressed Iran's role as a regional power in settling different problems, specially fighting against terrorism, and called for cooperation with Iran in regional issues and lasting economic relations with Tehran.
Hammond arrived in Tehran on Sunday at the head of a high-ranking delegation to meet the Iranian officials and reopen the British embassy after four years of strained relations.
Upon arrival, he directly went to the British embassy and announced resumption of the mission's tasks in an official ceremony.
The British top diplomat told reporters that there are no limitations in the relations with Iran even if both sides have differences on certain issues.
The British embassy reopened on Sunday while a graffiti still daubed above a portrait of the Queen saying "Death to England", showing how much disgust Iranians feel for the British foreign policy.
The graffit, one of numerous slogans sprayed across the embassy in Tehran when angry students seized it four years ago, had not been removed for the grand-reopening of the embassy, despite the attendance of VIPs including the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond.
Officials said removing the graffiti without damaging the building's elegant Victorian walls required specialists who had not yet been brought in. But the graffiti which was written in Persian had not been covered up in anyway prior to Hammond's visit.
Elsewhere in the compound an orange graffiti in the drawing room of the Ambassador's residence read: "Death to England."
Hammond is the first British Foreign Secretary to visit Iran in the last 12 years.
People in Iran are still angry at Britain for its hostile moves against their state.
On Saturday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi had announced reopening of the British mission, but meantime, said that Tehran didn’t have any plan to upgrade its diplomatic relations with London to the ambassadorial level.
"We are not considering to send Iran's ambassador to Britain and the embassies in both countries will continue operating under charges d'affaires," Takht Ravanchi told FNA.
He noted that Hammond would arrive in Tehran on Sunday to reopen his country's embassy in the Iranian capital, and said, "Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Danesh Yazdi will also attend the reopening ceremony of Iran's embassy in London."
Takht Ravanchi said that the Iranian and British embassies would issue diplomatic visas in the first phase and will then resume issuing tourist visas in the next phase.
Relations between Iran and Britain hit an all-time low in November 2011, when the two countries shut down their diplomatic missions around Britain's key role in the imposition of a new set of western sanctions against Iran and its repeated meddling with Iran's domestic affairs.
Iran recalled all its staff and closed its embassy in London in November after Britain recalled its diplomatic mission in Tehran due to massive protests in front of the British embassy complex by thousands of Iranian students who demanded a cut of ties with London.
The Iranian students' November protests at the British mission came after the Iranian legislators in an open session of the parliament in November approved the bill of a law on downgrading relations with Britain. After the parliament approval, Iran expelled the British ambassador from Tehran.
The parliament approval came a week after the US and Britain targeted Iranian financial sectors with new punitive measures, including sanctions on Iran's Central Bank and petrochemical industry.
The sanction against CBI and Iran's petrochemical industry was adopted in a unilateral move by the US, Canada and Britain outside the UN Security Council as other council members, specially Russia and China, had earlier warned against any fresh punitive measure, including sanctions, against Iran.
The British government has also embarked on delisting the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from its list of terrorist groups.
The Iranian lawmakers initially started drafting a bill to downgrade ties with London after Britain's direct involvement in stirring post-election unrests in Iran in 2009, but they intensified and accelerated the move after former British Envoy to Tehran Simon Gass criticized the human rights situation in Iran.
"Today, International Human Rights Day is highlighting the cases of those people around the world who stand up for the rights of others - the lawyers, journalists and NGO workers who place themselves at risk to defend their countrymen," Gass said in a memo published by the British Embassy in Tehran on December 9, 2010.
"Nowhere are they under greater threat than in Iran. Since last year human rights defenders have been harassed and imprisoned," Gass added.
Following Britain's support for a group of wild demonstrators who disrespected Islamic sanctities and damaged private and public amenities and properties in Tehran on
On December 27, 2009, members of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission drafted bill of a law requiring the country's Foreign Ministry to cut relations with Britain completely.
The British government's blatant stance and repeated remarks in support of the last year unrests inside Iran and London's espionage operations and financial and media support for the opposition groups are among the reasons mentioned in the bill for cutting ties with Britain.
Iran has repeatedly accused the West of stoking post-election unrests, singling out Britain and the US for meddling. Tehran expelled two British diplomats and arrested a number of local staffs of the British embassy in Tehran after documents and evidence substantiated London's interfering role in stirring post-election riots in Iran.
But after President Rouhani rose to power, he and his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, pursued the policy of detente and started talks with London on the resumption of diplomatic ties and reopening embassies.
In a meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York City on September 23, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his British counterpart William Hague discussed improvement of Tehran-London relations, Iran’s nuclear energy program as well as regional developments.
In October, Iran and Britain agreed to announce the names of their non-resident charges d’affaires.
Last December, Head of Iran-Britain Parliamentary Friendship Group Abbasali Mansouri Arani underlined that the British member of the House of Commons, Jack Straw, was due to visit Iran to pave the way for the normalization of ties between the two states.
Straw visited Iran the same month.

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