Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Iran's Highest Legislative Body Votes to Reduce Ties With Britain

Iran's highest legislative body votes to reduce ties with Britain

TEHRAN, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Iran's highest legislative body, the Guardian Council of the Constitution, unanimously voted to reduce diplomatic ties with Britain on Monday.

According to the state IRIB TV, the spokesman of the Guardian Council Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei said "after discussing the bill, members of the Guardian Council approved it unanimously."

On Sunday, Iran's Majlis, or parliament, voted to reduce the country's diplomatic ties with Britain and sent the bill to the Guardian Council for final approval.

The Iranian Majlis' move to reduce the ties or to sever diplomatic relations with Britain came after the British government imposed political and economic pressures against Iran, including the recent move to cease business relationships and transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.

Last Monday, Britain severed all links with Iranian banks as part of its new financial sanctions in the wake of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that expressed concern over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

The bill, which turned into law after the Guardian Council's endorsement on Monday, requires the Iranian Foreign Ministry to reduce diplomatic ties with Britain from the ambassador level to the level of charge d'affaires within two weeks.

It also calls on the government of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to reduce economic and trade relations with Britain to the lowest level.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast urged British officials on Monday to correct their attitudes towards Iran.

If the British authorities intend to promote ties with Iran, they had better prepare the ground for changing the public opinion of the Iranians towards Britain by appropriately modifying their attitudes towards the Islamic Republic, Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by the local satellite Press TV.

The Iranian spokesman expressed hope that the British officials would take measures to avert tension and confrontation.

Mehmanparast told the official IRNA news agency on Sunday that the foreign ministry will act according to the new law once it officially receives it.

Iran's president also defended the Majlis vote, saying that his country was simply responding to Britain's actions.

"They (Britishers) don't want to make transactions with us, well, we don't want transactions (with them) either," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the semi- official ISNA news agency on Monday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi on Monday expressed hope the British government would behave "rationally" and based on political logic in its relations with other countries.

In an interview with IRNA, he described the Majlis move to lower ties with Britain as a good lesson for the London.

"Foreign ministries are responsible for strengthening and expanding ties with other countries but unfortunately some governments, such as Britain, are doing their job irrationally and illogically," Salehi was quoted as saying.

However, "If Britain reviews its attitudes towards Iran, we will revise ours too," Salehi said.

After Sunday's vote, the Iranian parliament said if the British government stops its "hostile" policies towards the Islamic Republic, the country can upgrade its ties with Britain.

On Sunday, Britain called Iran's bill as "regrettable," and threatened to counter Tehran's move in collaboration with its allies.

Earlier this month, the board of the IAEA adopted a resolution on Iran's disputed nuclear program, calling for intensified dialogue to resolve to the pending issues.

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