Britain defends decision to send envoy to Iran inauguration / WashingtonTV


Washington, 5 August (WashingtonTV)—Britain on Wednesday defended its decision to send its ambassador to Tehran to the inauguration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying “hard-headed diplomacy” was required in its dealings with Iran.

The Foreign Office said that while ambassador Simon Gass attended today’s ceremony, London had not sent a message of congratulations to Ahmadinejad.

“There are serious issues that we need to address with the government of Iran, including the international community’s legitimate and pressing concerns about Iran’s nuclear program,” the Foreign Office said.

It also noted “the very concerning human rights situation” in Iran.

London said that it had made its position clear about the “abuse of human rights” that followed Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election, which opposition leaders claimed was rigged.

“It is partly for that reason that Iran has consistently singled out Britain for attack, repeatedly complaining to us about our positions,” said the Foreign Office.

Britain said that while it would not be “business as usual” with Iran, the communication channels had to be kept open.

“Today’s ceremony does not change our position on Iran’s elections … it is Iranians who decide who runs Iran, not us,” it added.

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