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UK and Iran's foreign ministers finally meet to improve relations

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with British Foreign Secretary William Hague (L) at the UN Headquarters in New York City, September 23, 2013.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague have met and discussed, inter alia, the improvement of Tehran-London relations.

The meeting was held at the UN headquarters in New York City on Monday.

Zarif and Hague discussed Iran’s nuclear energy program as well as regional developments, including the situation in Syria and Afghanistan.

The two top diplomats also stressed the need for the improvement of Tehran-London ties on a “step-by-step” basis.

During the talks, Zarif censured the illegal sanctions imposed on Iran, saying that the US-led bans merely target the Iranian nation.

He also described his earlier negotiations with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton as constructive, expressing hope that the upcoming meeting between Iran and the group of world powers involved in nuclear negotiations with Iran (the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany) would be a step forward in resolving the Western dispute over the Iranian nuclear energy program.

Zarif is to meet with representatives of the noted countries on the sidelines of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

The Iranian minister further warned against the danger of chemical weapons falling into the hands of extremist Takfiri groups operating in Syria, which has been the scene of deadly unrest since March 2011.

Meanwhile, the British foreign secretary said following the talks that London “does not seek a confrontational relationship with Iran” and that the UK “is open to better relations” with the Islamic Republic.

Hague stated that he and Zarif “have now asked our officials to do further work” on improving bilateral ties.

The top British diplomat also urged the Islamic Republic to “play a constructive role” in resolving the crisis in Syria.


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