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Iran - Relations With The West

United Kingdom/Iran relations were fully restored after Iran gave assurances in 1998 that it had no intention of threatening the life of Salman Rushdie. The UK and Iran exchanged Ambassadors in 1999. The UK wants Iran to be a secure and prosperous country, co-operating with and respected by the international community, but will maintain a robust dialogue on issues of concern. These issues include human rights and fundamental freedoms, Iran's nuclear program, and Iran's support for terrorism and for groups seeking to undermine regional security.

The UK Foreign Secretary said on 05 December 2007, “Iran has the potential to be one of the world’s great nations. It enjoys enormous advantages. Its people should be reaping the benefit of these to the full, not seeing their country treated as an international exile. There is a clear choice facing the Iranian leadership. On the one hand, a transformed relationship with the international community, including the US, bringing political, economic and technological benefits. On the other, further isolation. No one can make this choice for Iran’s leaders. But I hope they have the foresight and inspiration to make the right one for their people, who deserve no less.”

In June 2002 European Union (EU) Foreign Ministers agreed to the negotiation of a Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) between Iran and the EU. Negotiations were suspended in June 2003 due to EU concern over Iran's nuclear program. In light of the IAEA's resolution on 24 September 2005 (supported by further regular statements, most recently 19 February 2009), finding Iran non-compliant with its safeguards agreements, there are no plans at the moment for further negotiating on the TCA or parallel negotiations on a Political Agreement. This confirms the EU's readiness to explore ways to further develop political and economic co-operation with Iran, once Iran has taken action to address the concerns of the EU.

United States/Iran relations had not formally been restored since they were broken off in 1980. In January 2002 President Bush referred to Iran as part of an 'Axis of Evil' and in 2006 the Iran Freedom Support Act imposed sanctions for a further five years. On 28 May 2007 US and Iranian Ambassadors to Iraq met to discuss Iraq, together with senior members of the Iraqi government. They met again in July and August 2007. The UK welcomed these meetings which were the first official meetings between the US and Iranian Governments since 1980. On 25 October 2007 US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice said she remained ready to meet her Iranian counterpart 'anytime, anywhere, to discuss any issue' as soon as Iran had complied with its international obligations and suspended its enrichment program.

In accordance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the international agreement on Iran's nuclear program reached in Vienna in July 2015, Tehran is not allowed to build or test missile systems, or to purchase advanced conventional weapons from abroad.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized President Hassan Rohani for saying his rapprochement policy toward the West had caused the threat of war to diminish. Khamenei's comments at an 30 April 2017 meeting with workers from across the country come amid Iran's intensifying presidential election campaign, in which pragmatist Rohani was seeking a second term. "We hear, and we have heard it before, some saying: 'When we took things in our hands, we could save the country from war.' No. This is not true," Khamenei said during the meeting, which was held on the eve of International Workers' Day. "What protected this country during all these years against aggression, and the enemy's intrusion, is the presence of the people," he added.

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Page last modified: 30-04-2017 13:43:42 ZULU