Iran General NewsIran 'reviewing' relations with Britain

Iran ‘reviewing’ relations with Britain


ImageDaily Telegraph: Iran is reviewing all areas of co-operation with Britain in the wake of calls by its MPs to cut diplomatic relations, its foreign minister has said. The Daily Telegraph

Iran is reviewing all areas of co-operation with Britain in the wake of calls by its MPs to cut diplomatic relations, its foreign minister has said.

By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent

ImageAt the same time, one of the MPs involved blamed "British policies" for the bomb attack which killed an academic nuclear physicist in Tehran last week.

The attention Tehran is paying to Britain, long vilified for its colonial-era role in Iran, is a sign of the Islamic regime's particular distrust of the human rights agenda being pursued by the foreign secretary, David Miliband.

The original call to cut relations came from a motion submitted by 40 members of parliament last week.

In response, the foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, told a conference that the government was "considering" the call.

"Iran has carried out a thorough study on its relations with Britain in different fields particularly over the past six months," Mr Mottaki said.

"There are 10-12 working fields between Iran and the UK. We are currently reviewing each area."

Mr Mottaki did not expand on what he considered the "working fields" to be.

The Foreign Office said it had reviewed reports of what Mr Mottaki said but had no comment.

One area that is definitely being considered is relations with the British Museum. Iran accuses it of reneging on an agreement to make a loan of the Cyrus Cylinder, an important ancient Persian relic containing an inscription from the 6th century BC often described as outlining the first charter of human rights.

The Museum said the loan had been delayed in September for unspecified "practical" reasons.

"If we find out for certain that the British Museum does not want to send the Cyrus Cylinder to Iran and is simply trying to kill time, we will cut all our ties with that organisation," said Hamid Baqaie, head of Iran's Cultural Organisation.

He said he would call on Unesco, the United Nations cultural organisation, to do the same.

Most venom in Iran is reserved for America and Israel, which the regime has accused outright of orchestrating the murder of Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, a physics lecturer from Tehran University.

The government says he was killed because of his nuclear work, though he had also given his support to pro-reform factions in anti-government demonstrations.

But Britain has resurfaced in criticism in recent days because of its decision to remove exile groups from its proscribed terror list.

Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, one of the authors of the bill calling for ties to be severed, cited such revisions by Britain as one of the reasons behind the bombing, and said the Iranian people "would not have a moment of peace" so long as the British Embassy remained open.

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