Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond held a joint press conference in the Iranian capital, Tehran, stressing the interaction was the only way out of differences.
Zarif said that Tehran and London share views about fighting “extremism, Daesh” and drug trafficking in the region, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL, adding that Iran and Britain could resolve “differences through interaction and reaching a mutual understanding.
The press conference took place hours after the reopening of the UK Embassy in the Islamic Republic. Zarif said the reopening of the embassies could be a restart of Iran-Britain relations, adding, “Today, we entered the phase of mutual relationship based on mutual respect.”
“We are ready to resolve problems through dialogue on issues we have differences, like human rights,” he said, as reported by Press TV.
Answering to a question on the Islamic Republic’s relations with its neighbors, the Iranian foreign minister said, “Iran will engage with all its neighbors,” adding “exclusion is not our policy.”
“If we try to gain at the expense of others, all of us will lose,” Zarif said, adding, “We call upon our neighbors to respond positively to this approach.”
For his part, Hammond said he felt “delighted” about the reopening of Iranian and British embassies, saying they serve as “important practical channels” to engage on “many issues we have shared interests.”
“Reopening our embassies is a first step toward reestablishing the links between the British people and Iranian people,” Hammond said.
He said that there has been “improvement between the two countries step-by-step” 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. Hammond noted that “our embassies play an important role in maintaining” dialogue between Tehran and London.
The British foreign secretary said he is looking forward to a sustained dialogue and mutually beneficially cooperation between the UK and Iran.
The British top diplomat also referred to his talks with Iran’s petroleum minister, Bijan Zangeneh, saying the business delegates accompanying him are “more than willing” to invest in Iran once sanctions against the Islamic Republic are lifted.
He said Iran’s petroleum industry has shown “openness” to foreign investment.
Hammond referred to Iran’s nuclear agreement with six world powers as a “major step” which would help the two countries “rebuild economic relationships.”
He expressed assurances that “trust will be rebuilt” through the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Hammond arrived in Tehran on a historic visit earlier on Sunday, 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.