Pickles warns Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond ahead of Tehran embassy reopening


The Foreign Secretary will have to make clear that Iran’s support for international terror groups is “wholly unacceptable” ahead of the reopening of the British embassy, Sir Eric Pickles has warned.

Phillip Hammond will reopen the embassy in Tehran this weekend after a four-year closure.

But Conservative Friends of Israel chairman and former cabinet minister Sir Eric said Mr Hammond would have to “pose some difficult questions to Iran’s government”.

He must “make strong representations that its well-documented support for international terror groups is wholly unacceptable,” Sir Eric said.

The former Communities Minister also raised concern over Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s vow that the country would “take all possible means to support anyone who fights Israel”.

Sir Eric said: “Iran’s ongoing attempts to destabilise the region warrants unequivocal condemnation. Iran’s human rights record is equally lamentable.

“The Foreign Secretary should express the United Kingdom's horror at Iran’s surge in the use of the death penalty and suppression of even the most basic of human rights.”

He said after leading world powers had “controversially opted” not to discuss these issues during the nuclear talks, “it is now the right time to be pressing these fundamental issues”.

The Iranian embassy in London will also re-open this weekend.

Britain’s embassy in Tehran was shut in November 2011 after activists protesting against sanctions stormed the building, burned the British flag and looted property.

This development marks a warming of Iran-UK relations and comes following the July agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme.

The last British foreign secretary to go to Tehran was Jack Straw in September 2001.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive