LONDON , June 17 (UPI) -- British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Tuesday plans to re-open the United Kingdom's embassy in Tehran, Iran, are proceeding.
He called it an "important step forward" in relations with Iran, adding "circumstances were right" after recent improvements in relations between the two countries. The election of a new president in Iran, Hassan Rouhani, and an agreement on Iran's nuclear program were important steps in strengthening the countries' relationship.
The mutual desire of Iran and Western powers in challenging militants in Iraq has increased interest in a unified approach, as well.
In Parliament, Hague discounted suggestions the plans amounted to a softening of the United Kingdom's stance on Iran. Tehran has to "cease support for sectarian groups across the Middle East and reach a successful conclusion to nuclear negotiations," Hague said.
Diplomatic relations with Iran were suspended in 2011, after Islamic supporters of the government attacked the British embassy, ransacking the building.