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4 ministers urged to downgrade UK ties

A senior Iranian lawmaker says the Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy has sent letters to four related ministries on downgrading relations with the UK.

Committee spokesman Kazem Jalali has announced that in accord with Iran’s policy of reducing and controlling ties with Britain, the committee has sent letters to the ministers of foreign affairs, economic affairs and finance, industries and mines, and commerce, calling on them to define and report within the next month the type of trade and economic transactions presently conducted with Britain — both in the international arena and the private sector, Fars news agency reported Tuesday.

Jalali’s remarks came after the committee held a meeting with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and some other officials at the ministry.

Avaz Heidarpour, one of the members of the committee, said that during the meeting the foreign ministry gave a detailed comprehensive report on measures taken thus far and promised to take further necessary steps regarding the issue.

Iran-UK relations were strained after Tehran charged Britain with having played a role in Iran’s post-election unrest that erupted after the June presidential election.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in January that Iran was considering limiting its relations with the UK.

“After months of deliberation, the Tehran government has decided to limit its relations with Britain in various areas,” Mottaki said on January 18.

Prior to Mottaki’s remarks, a bill was also introduced by Parliament on severing ties with the British government in January.

The bill was later changed to reducing the level of diplomatic relations with London from the ambassadorial level to that of charge d’affaires.

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