November 4, 2010 / 1:17 PM / 8 years ago

Timeline: Relations between Britain and Iran

(Reuters) - Iran’s accusation that Britain funds anti-Iranian “terrorists” is the latest during years of strained relations between the two countries.

Following is a timeline of British-Iranian ties:

1953 - Britain and the United States help orchestrate the overthrow of Iran’s popular Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, restoring Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi to power.

1979 - Islamic revolution overthrows U.S.-backed shah.

1980 - Britain closes its embassy in Tehran.

1988 - Britain restores full diplomatic ties with Iran.

February 14, 1989 - Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini calls on Muslims to kill British author Salman Rushdie for blasphemy against Islam in his book “The Satanic Verses.”

March 7 - Iran breaks diplomatic relations with Britain.

September 1990 - Partial diplomatic relations are restored.

April 28, 1994 - Britain accuses Iran of contacts with the outlawed Irish Republican Army. Iran denies, but ties worsen in June and Iran and Britain expel diplomats over the IRA row.

Sept 24, 1998 - Iran formally dissociates itself from the death edict against Rushdie.

May 18, 1999 - Iran says relations between Tehran and Britain have been upgraded to ambassadorial level.

Sept 24, 2001 - British Foreign Minister Jack Straw visits Iran to bolster an international “anti-terror” coalition after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

June 2004 - Iran arrests eight British military personnel for straying into its waters from Iraq. They are freed after talks.

October 12, 2005 - British Prime Minister Tony Blair says there is evidence that Iran or the Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah was the source of technology used in roadside bombs against British soldiers in Iraq. Iran denies involvement.

October 16 - Iran’s president accuses Britain of being behind twin bombings that killed six people in southwestern Iran a day earlier, a charge Britain denies.

March 23, 2007 - Iranian forces seize eight Royal Navy sailors and seven marines, in the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway that separates Iran and Iraq.

April 4 - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he will free the 15 as a “gift” but scolds Britain for not being “brave enough” to admit they had made a mistake and strayed into Iranian waters. They arrive back in Britain the next day.

June 24, 2007 - Iran’s parliament speaker says the award of a British knighthood to author Salman Rushdie, was a shameless act. Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Britain’s ambassador to Tehran the previous week to protest against the honor.

June 12, 2009 - Ahmadinejad’s presidential election win is met by accusations of vote-rigging and huge street protests.

June 18, 2009 - Britain says it has frozen Iranian assets of almost a billion pounds ($1.6 billion) under international sanctions imposed over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.

June 19 - Britain protests to Iran over a speech by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who called Britain “the most treacherous” of Iran’s enemies. Prime Minister Gordon Brown condemns violence and media curbs in Iran.

June 23 - Britain expels two Iranian diplomats after Iran forces two British diplomats to leave.

July 19 - Iran releases on bail the last of Britain’s local embassy workers, chief analyst Hossein Rassam. Nine Iranian staff were held in late June for alleged involvement in the post-election unrest. Iran later tried Rassam on charges of espionage, which Britain described as an “outrage.” The charges were dropped in October 2010.

December 29 - Iran summons Ambassador Simon Gass as Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki threatens Britain with a “slap in the mouth” if it did not stop interfering in Iranian affairs.

— Gass, summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, repeats Britain’s position that Iran must respect the human rights of its own citizens, the Foreign Office says in a statement.

January 18, 2010 - Iran says it will review ties with Britain in a dozen fields, state television quotes Foreign Minister Mottaki as saying.

July 5 - Iran says that Britain, Germany and the UAE are refusing to provide fuel to Iranian passenger planes following unilateral U.S. sanctions, ISNA news agency reports. Iran Air later says it will take legal action against companies refusing it fuel in Europe.

November 4 - Iran arrests what it says are four UK-linked terrorists paid by a Kurdish militant based in Britain to carry out assassinations.

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