Hague confirms Tehran embassy to re-open

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The UK will use the expansion of bilateral relations with Iran to press for a wider change in the country's foreign policy, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.

Mr Hague said Iran has the capability to play a "more positive role" across the Middle East region after a history of being "divisive and sectarian", during Foreign Office questions on 17 June 2014.

He confirmed the UK embassy in Tehran will be reopened with a small diplomatic team, and described the move as "an important step forward" in bilateral relations.

Labour welcomed the development, and said Iran had to choose whether to be a "stabilising or destabilising force in an already volatile region".

Full diplomatic relations with Iran were suspended after attacks on the British embassy in Iran in 2011.

The election of a new Iranian president and agreement on how to deal with Iran's nuclear programme has led to increased contacts in 2014.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander asked how British engagement with Iran on tackling the threat posed by Isis in Iraq could be used to change its approach to conflict in Syria more broadly.

Mr Hague replied: "We would welcome and we will press for a wider change in foreign policy of Iran," particularly in regards to Iran's nuclear ambitions.

He said of Iran: "It has played for many years a divisive and sectarian role through supporting divisive or often terrorist groups in other parts of the region.

"We look to it to desist from that, and we will use the expansion of our bilateral relations to press for that, as well as to encourage links between the peoples of our countries and have a good understanding of each other's positions."

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