Britain's Hague says to make announcement on relations with Iran

LONDON, June 16 Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:51pm EDT

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LONDON, June 16 (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday he would make an announcement about improving bilateral ties with Iran "imminently".

Britain revived diplomatic relations with Iran last November, appointing a non-resident charge d'affairs, two years after an angry mob ransacked the British embassy in Tehran, but has not yet reopened the mission in the Iranian capital.

Asked in parliament by opposition Labour party foreign affairs spokesman Douglas Alexander whether the crisis in Iraq showed there was a case for "ensuring an effective diplomatic presence in Tehran", Hague responded that he had spoken to Iran's foreign minister on Saturday "about a number of matters".

"He (Alexander) said there is a case for a further step forward in our bilateral relations," Hague said. "I have discussed that with the minister. I will have something more to say about that imminently, in fact very imminently."

The United States, a close ally of Britain, has said it could launch air strikes and act jointly with its arch-enemy Iran to shore up the Iraqi government after a rampage by Sunni Islamist insurgents across Iraq that has scrambled alliances in the Middle East.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall/Mark Heinrich)

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