British Parliament delegation visits Iran

AP News
Posted: Jan 07, 2014 7:45 AM
British Parliament delegation visits Iran

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A British Parliament delegation arrived in Tehran on Tuesday — the first visit by U.K. lawmakers to Iran in years — as the two countries work to improve relations, Iranian media reported.

The four-member delegation was headed by former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who last visited Iran in 2003 as Britain's top diplomat, said the official Iranian news agency, IRNA.

Separately, visiting German lawmaker Andreas Schockenhoff, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, also met Iranian counterparts in Tehran.

The British and German parliamentarians are the fourth round of visiting lawmakers from Europe since Iran's new president, moderate Hassan Rouhani, took office in August.

Rouhani has vowed a softer approach toward the West, which is at odds with Iran and suspects the country of seeking a nuclear bomb. Tehran denies the charge, insisting its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

The British Embassy in Tehran was closed in late 2011 after hardliners overran the building. Iran in turn also closed its embassy in London but relations have improved in recent months.

Last November, Iran agreed to cap its nuclear enrichment program in return to easing some sanctions by the West. Both sides have held three rounds of expert-level talks about how to implement the interim deal. More nuclear talks are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.