Former British FM may attend Rouhani's inauguration ceremony: Iranian official

2013-07-18 16:08:41 GMT2013-07-19 00:08:41(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

TEHRAN, July 18 (Xinhua) -- An advisor to the Iranian president- elect said Thursday that former British foreign secretary Jack Straw may attend Hassan Rouhani's inauguration ceremony, semi- official Fars Fars news agency reported.

Morteza Bank said "It is possible that Mr. Straw, who previously showed an interest to travel to Iran, would be invited to the incoming (inauguration) ceremony" of Rouhani.

Earlier this month, Straw told the BBC that he is "more hopeful " about the incoming president to help resolve the country's nuclear issue.

Also, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported that Straw is planning to travel to Iran after Rouhani takes office, with the aim of improving relations between the UK and the Islamic republic.

Rouhani won the presidential election on June 14 by garnering 50.71 percent of the votes. He will take office in early August to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has been ruling Iran for eight years.

On Tuesday, Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi told reporters that his country welcomes Straw's plan to visit Iran.

About Straw's intentions to improve broken relations between London and Tehran, Araqchi said "he is better to start this from London," implying that the UK severed relations with Tehran two years ago.

In November 2011, thousands of angry Iranian demonstrators broke into two British embassy compounds following Iran's decision to downgrade its diplomatic ties with Britain in response to its imposed financial sanctions against Tehran.

Following the incursion into its embassy in Tehran, Britain withdrew its diplomats from Iran, shut down its embassy in Tehran, ordered the immediate closure of the Iranian embassy in London and demanded that all its staff leave Britain.

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