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British embassy in Tehran reopens four years after closure

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Tehran: The British embassy in Iran reopened on Sunday, nearly four years after it was closed. Iran’s embassy in London also opened simultaneously. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond arrived in Tehran on Sunday for the reopening of the embassy that was closed in 2011 after it was stormed by protesters during a demonstration against sanctions against Iran.

Hammond’s visit comes weeks after Iran reached a deal with P5+1 group of world powers aimed at curbing its nuclear program. European officials have been quick to visit Tehran since July 14, when Iran struck a deal with the US, Russia, Britain, France and China plus Germany ending a 13-year stand-off over its nuclear program. The accord will see the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on Iran and has sparked a flurry of interest from countries seeking to re-connect with the oil-rich western Asian nation. Hammond’s visit was the first by a British foreign secretary since 2003. Reopening the embassies was “a first step” toward re-establishing the links between the British people and Iranian people, Hammond said.

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www.bbc.com

He said that there has been a “step-by-step” improvement in relations between the two countries since President Hassan Rouhani was elected in July 2013. “Iran is and will remain a very important country in a strategically but volatile region,” he said. Following the 2011 embassy attack, Britain said it could not have happened without the tacit consent of the Iranian regime at the time. It erupted after the Iranian parliament voted to expel the British ambassador and reduce trade relations with Britain in retaliation for British-led sanctions against Iran’s banking sector.

Students rampaged for hours through Britain’s diplomatic compounds in Tehran, tearing down the British flag, ripping up pictures of Queen Elizabeth II and trashing offices. Staff were seized by protesters. Diplomatic relations were reduced to their lowest possible level, with Britain expelling Iran´s officials. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohmmad Javad Zarif said Iran and Britain could resolve “differences through interaction and reaching a mutual understanding”. He noted that Tehran and London share views about fighting “extremism, Islamic State” and drug trafficking in the region. He said the reopening of the embassies could be a restart of Iran-Britain relations, adding, “Today (Sunday), we entered the phase of mutual relationship based on mutual respect”.

(IANS)

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Another Royal Affair, Princess Eugenie Ties The Knot

Eugenie, ninth in the line of succession to the throne, is the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

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Princess Eugenie
Princess Eugenie wedding. Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank on the steps of St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding.

Princess Eugenie of York, the British Queen’s granddaughter, on Friday tied the knot with her long-term partner in a grand ceremony at the Windsor castle attended by 850 guests, including most members of the UK’s royal family.

The dean of Windsor’s St. George’s Chapel, Reverend David Conner, officiated the ritual that wed the princess, 28, to tequila executive Jack Brooksbank, 32, whom she met during a skiing trip in 2010, the BBC reported.

Princess Eugenie
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s royal wedding.

Friday’s star-studded guest list included celebrities from all walks of life, such as musicians (Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and English singers Robbie Williams and Ellie Goulding), models like Cara Delevigne and Naomi Campbell, actors and comedians like Stephen Fry, Liv Tyler, Jack Whitehall and Jimmy Carr and elite fashion designer David Emanuel.

“It is in the presence of the God of love shown to us in Jesus Christ that Eugenie and Jack have made their vows, confident that even our fragile human loving can be a merciful ingredient in a loving God’s providential operation in an often all-too-troubled world,” were Conner’s words before the couple formally became spouses.

Princess Eugenie
This is the second royal wedding held at Windsor.

This is the second royal wedding held at Windsor so far this year, after the nuptials of Prince Harry (Eugenie’s cousin) and Meghan Markle on May 19.

Also Read: US, Britain Step Up In Order To Tackle FGM

Another 1,200 people who had won a ballot were able to attend a live broadcast in the castle grounds despite the strong winds, while thousands more thronged outside the gates.

Eugenie, ninth in the line of succession to the throne, is the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York (the second son of Queen Elizabeth II and her consort, Prince Philip) and Sarah Ferguson. (IANS)