Iran and Britain Exchange Ambassadors for First Time Since 2011

Though both countries reopened their embassies in 2015, they had been manned by charges d'affairs until now. 'I hope this will mark the start of more productive co-operation between our countries,' Britain's Boris Johnson says.

Iranian police officers prevent further protesters from entering the British Embassy, as others stand on the gates holding a satirized British flag and Islamic flags, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011.
AP

Iran and Britain have exchanged ambassadors for the first time since 2011, the British Foreign Ministry announced Monday, reporting that Nicholas Hopton, named chargé d'affaires for Iran a year ago, will now be ambassador.

Hopton was named charge d'affaires at the reopened British embassy in Iran a year ago. Prior to that he had been ambassador to Qatar.

"I hope this will mark the start of more productive co-operation between our countries, enabling us to discuss more directly issues such as human rights and Iran's role in the region, as well as ongoing implementation of the nuclear deal and the expansion of the trading relationship between both our countries," British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said.

Iran for its part named top diplomat Hamid Baeidinejad as its ambassador to London, according to the daily Etemad. There was no confirmation by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Baeidinejad was a member of the Iranian negotiating team for its nuclear deal with the international community. The reform-oriented diplomat is considered to be a close associate of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

London broke off relations with Tehran at the end of 2011, when Iranian Islamists stormed the British embassy in anger at Britain's backing of sanctions against Iran over the latter's nuclear program. In August 2015, following the signing of the nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers, both countries reopened their respective embassies, manning them with charges d'affaires.