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Amid increasing tensions over the nuclear programme and the imposition of another round of sanctions, protesters stormed the British Embassy in Tehran in November 2011, leading to the closure of the embassy. ‘Protecting power’ arrangements were set in place, meaning that British interests in Iran were handled by Sweden, while Iranian interests in London were taken care of by Oman.

A British parliamentary delegation visited Iran in January 2014. In February 2014 the UK and Iran said that they would re-start direct diplomatic contacts, conducting business through non-resident Chargés d’Affaires rather than through third countries. The Tehran embassy will open as soon as practical problems have been solved.

The UK government supports and participates in the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme, although it says that the sanctions should not be lifted until a comprehensive solution to the dispute of the nuclear programme has been reached. After the election of Hassan Rouhani in 2013, a Joint Plan of Action was agreed between the E3+3 negotiating team and Iran, leading to enhanced prospects for a deal. On the expiry of the earlier deadline at the end of November, the talks were further extended to 30 June 2015.

Sanctions have caused a particularly sharp deterioration in Iran/UK trade.

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