UK's Hammond: Iran 'too important' to leave in isolation

UK's Hammond: Iran 'too important' to leave in isolation
British FM Phillip Hammond says Iran 'too important' to leave in isolation as he met with President Rouhani on Monday, a day after the reopening of UK embassy in Tehran.
1 min read
24 August, 2015
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met in Tehran on Monday [Getty]

Britain's foreign minister says Iran is a major regional player that can be an ally in fighting terrorism — but the UK must "tread carefully" in its relationship with Tehran.

Tehran and world powers struck a deal last month on Iran's contested nuclear programme, and on Sunday Britain and Iran reopened their respective embassies after a break of several years.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran Monday, said the two countries shared common ground despite a "deep legacy of distrust."

He said they agreed on the need to defeat the Islamic State group, and to stop opium from Afghanistan reaching Europe.

Hammond told the BBC that "Iran is too large a player, too important a player in this region, to simply leave in isolation."

The British Foreign Secretary also said he expected sanctions on Iran to be lifted as early as Spring next year.

Speaking to Reuters, Hammond said he expected Iran and the United States could endorse the nuclear deal they reached last month by October.

Hammond said preparatory work should be done ahead of lifting sanctions so investment can start to flow as soon as the measures are removed.