News / Europe

US, Britain Move to Improve Iran Relations

US Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, left, in London, Friday, June 13, 2014
US Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, left, in London, Friday, June 13, 2014
Al Pessin
Britain announced Tuesday it will re-open its embassy in Iran, three years after it was closed following an attack on the building by Iranian protesters.  The decision is the latest move by a Western nation to improve relations with Iran as the crisis in neighboring Iraq intensifies.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague made the announcement in parliament.  

“We will be reopening our embassy in Tehran.  Initially, this will be with a small diplomatic team.  But it is an important step forward in our bilateral relations with Iran,” he said.

Hague said Iran will also likely reopen its embassy in London.

The foreign secretary said Britain would use the increased diplomatic contact in part to press Iran to end what he called “its support for sectarian groups.”  That was an apparent reference to Iraq, where Iran supports the Shi'ite government and other groups that the West has accused of alienating Sunnis and fueling support for Sunni extremist groups.

One of those groups, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, has taken control of several Iraqi cities during the past week, and has advanced to within 65 kilometers of Baghdad.

The crisis has put Iran in the spotlight, and got this comment on Yahoo! News from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We're open to discussions if there's something constructive that can be contributed by Iran, if Iran is prepared to do something that is going to respect the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq and the ability of the government to reform,” said Kerry.

One result was a brief high-level meeting between senior U.S. and Iranian officials to discuss Iraq on Monday in Vienna, where the two countries are the key players in talks on the future of Iran’s nuclear program.  

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki noted that U.S. officials have spoken with Iran on other issues in recent years, including the situation in Afghanistan.  She characterized Monday’s meeting this way.

“We’re not talking about coordinating any military action in Iraq with Iran. We would encourage Iran to push the Iraqis to act to address problems in a nonsectarian way,” said Psaki.

But that has not been Iran’s policy so far.  It supported militant Shi'ite groups fighting U.S. and other international forces during Iraq’s civil war.  More recently, Iran has backed the increasingly sectarian Shi'ite Iraqi government.  

At the Maplecroft risk assessment firm, analyst Torbjorn Soltvedt says the U.S. and British approaches to Iran show how concerned they are about the advance of the Sunni militants in Iraq.  But he says it carries considerable risks.

“You could envision a situation where Sunni civilian populations could be killed in attacks carried out either by militias backed by Iran or even by Revolutionary Guard forces themselves.  In that kind of scenario, then the already bad sectarian tensions in Iraq could get even worse,” said Soltvedt.

U.S. and British officials have stressed that they will urge Iran to take the opposite course, and push their Iraqi allies to moderate their sectarian tendencies.  

But it is not clear whether Iran sees that as being in its interest.  Some analysts warn Iran might prefer the breakup of Iraq, with a militant Sunni entity in the west, the Kurdish enclave in the north, and a weakened government in Baghdad struggling to control the rest of the country.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ranjan from: india
June 17, 2014 1:07 PM
They just want oil from that country thats y they are going there,

In Response

by: Anthony from: 626
June 17, 2014 4:31 PM
Typical reply " they just want oil" ,, haha

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid