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BritainUSA Home > British Foreign Policy

UK and Iran
British Embassy, Washington DC, 5/19/2008

The UK wants Iran to be a secure and prosperous country, cooperating with and respected by the international community.
The UK government has no quarrel with the Iranian people. But we are currently very concerned about many of the activities of its governing regime. 

The UK maintains a robust dialogue with the Iranian government on these issues of concern through the British Embassy in Tehran. 

The British Embassy has raised issued including a lack of respect for human rights shown by the regime towards its people; Iran's nuclear program;  Iran's support for terrorism and groups seeking to undermine the Middle East Peace Process;  and other regional issues. 

As the UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on December 5, 2007:

"Iran has the potential to be one of the world's great nations. It enjoys enormous advantages. Its people should be reaping the benefit of these to the full, not seeing their country treated as an international exile. There is a clear choice facing the Iranian leadership. On the one hand, a transformed relationship with the international community, including the US, bringing political, economic and technological benefits. On the other, further isolation. No one can make this choice for Iran's leaders. But I hope they have the foresight and inspiration to make the right one for their people, who deserve no less."
The government of the United Kingdom, along with the rest of the international community, is deeply concerned by Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. 

The UK is committed, together with the E3+3 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) to a twin-track approach, intended to apply pressure on Iran to persuade it to engage in negotiations on a long-term agreement which would address the concerns of the international community over Iran's nuclear program.

The UK is also gravely concerned that Iran is providing explosives, detonators and training to the Shi'a militias who are engaged in operations against the UN-mandated forces in Iraq. 

The United Kingdom cannot be sure of the degree to which those in the senior levels of the Iranian government are complicit in this activity. Any Iranian links to armed groups in Iraq outside the political process, either through supply of weapons, training or funding, are unacceptable. They undermine Iran's long-term interest in a secure, stable and democratic Iraq.
Elsewhere in the region, Iran publicly expresses its support for stability in Afghanistan, having suffered from the Afghan civil war and then the Taliban. Iran has pledged $560 million over 5 years to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The two countries have developed good anti-narcotics cooperation. But the UK has evidence of arms supplies to the Taliban originating in Iran, which is a worrying development. 

Iran does not accept the two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians. Iranian leaders have argued that Israel's existence was illegitimate, because it came about as a result of the destruction of Palestine. Iran continues to have a vehement anti-Israel stance and since becoming president, Ahmadinejad has made several provocative statements including calling for Israel to be 'wiped off the map'. Iran has been very critical of the Middle East Peace Process and we are seriously concerned at the material and political support which groups undermining peace in the Middle East through violence draw from within Iran.

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