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Iran Parliament considering severing ties with UK

The Iranian Parliament (Majlis) has referred a bill, which calls for severing diplomatic ties with Britain, to the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee for further assessment.

“The bill, which was on the parliament’s agenda this morning, was referred to the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee for further expert review,” the committee’s Spokesman Kazem Jalali told reporters on Wednesday.

“We have studied this matter before. The committee believes that we should reduce our ties with Britain,” he added.

Responding to a question about why the bill was referred to the committee, Jalali said that downgrading or boosting relations with another country was a “sensitive” issue.

“Relevant bodies, such as the Foreign Ministry and the Supreme National Security Council, must be consulted and allowed to contribute on these matters,” said the lawmaker.

Jalali also explained that the committee members had met with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at the Foreign Ministry Tuesday night to discuss a range of foreign policy issues.

In a Tuesday speech, Mottaki had said that the proposal about downgrading ties with London needed to be studied closely.

Before the bill was referred to the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, dozens of lawmakers had expressed their support for the initiative.

Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, one of the authors of the bill, blamed British policies for the Tuesday bombing in northern Tehran, which claimed the life of an Iranian nuclear scientist.

Abtahi also criticized Britain for recognizing the Monarchy Organization of Iran (Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran) as a legal entity, and said that London would go even further to insult the Islamic Republic, should Tehran fail to take a strong stance.

He then called for the closure of the British Embassy in Tehran arguing that should the mission remain open, “the Iranian people would not have a moment’s peace.”

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