Sweden to watch British interests in Iran

LONDON Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:21pm BST

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Thursday Sweden would look after its interests in Iran as part of a deal hammered out after the UK closed its Tehran embassy late last year at the height of a diplomatic confrontation.

Iranian protesters broke into two British diplomatic compounds in Tehran in November, ransacking offices and burning British flags in protest against new sanctions.

The incident sparked a major row between the two countries, with Britain shutting its embassy in Tehran and then expelling all Iranian diplomats from London.

Oman said last month it had started representing Iran in London, indicating a possible slight thawing in Anglo-Iranian relations.

Sweden's foreign ministry confirmed on Thursday it had agreed to perform the same role for Britain in Iran.

A new British Interests Section would open in Sweden's embassy in Tehran from July 15, Britain's foreign office said. It would provide emergency consular services and look after British Embassy staff and property in the Islamic state.

"We have had an embassy in Iran for many years. And we would like to do so again in the future. But until that time arrives, we are confident that our interests in Tehran will be well looked after by the Swedish Embassy," the foreign office said in a statement.

Senior diplomats from the European Union and Iran are to meet on July 24 for technical talks on Tehran's disputed nuclear programme to try to salvage diplomatic efforts to resolve a decade-long standoff.

(Reporting by Tim Castle in London and Mia Shanley in Stockholm; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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