INSURGENCIES led by religious extremists in Iraq and Syria are the most serious danger Britain faces today, David Cameron has warned.The Prime Minister insisted the prospect of battle-hardened jihadists returning to the UK was a “real threat to our country”.But he denied that the Government was restoring diplomatic links with neighbouring Iran in a bid to win Tehran’s help to quell the spread of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) militants.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Chinese premier Li Keqiang, Mr Cameron said: “No-one should be in any doubt that what we see in Syria and now in Iraq in terms of ISIS is the most serious threat to Britain’s security that there is today.
“The number of foreign fighters in that area, the number of foreign fighters including those from the UK who could try to return to the UK this is a real threat to our country.
“We will do absolutely everything we can to keep our people safe. That means stopping people from going, it means arresting people who are involved in plots, it means focusing our security, our policing, our intelligence effort on to that area of the world, on to those people.”
Mr Cameron’s stark warning comes as it was announced that the British embassy in Iran is to reopen as part of moves to rebuild links with Tehran.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said the “circumstances are right” to re-establish the diplomatic mission in the Iranian capital.
Full diplomatic relations with Iran were suspended after attacks on the British embassy in Iran in 2011.
The election of a new Iranian president and agreement on how to deal with Iran’s nuclear programme has led to a thaw in relations in 2014.
The move comes as Iraqi forces are engaged in heavy clashes with Sunni Islamist militants across the country and amid reports that Iran is providing military assistance to its historic rival.
There is a now a significant shared common interest between the countries as Sunni extremists under the ISIS banner advance across northern Iraq, putting the survival of Iraq’s Shia-dominated government in jeopardy.
More than 90 per cent of Iranians follow the Shia branch of Islam.
It comes as the US revealed it is deploying up to 275 military personnel to protect staff at its huge embassy in Iraq.
There has never been any doubt in my mind that we should have an embassy in Tehran if the circumstances allowed.
He did not give a precise date for the embassy to reopen, saying there would be a “small initial presence” as soon as “practical arrangements have been made”.
The initiative comes after Mr Hague held talks at the weekend with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The Foreign Secretary said he had sought assurances that British diplomatic staff would be safe and would be able to carry out their work “without hindrance”.
Iran’s relations with many countries had taken a turn for the worse during the previous eight years of disastrous foreign policy adventures under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
It was on his watch that angry Islamic hard-line supporters of the government attacked and ransacked British embassy buildings in Tehran in November 2011.
The shared interest in confronting militants led by ISIS has accelerated contacts between the West and Iran.
Former foreign secretary Jack Straw welcomed the move, which he said would have come at some stage but had been “accelerated” by developments in Iraq.
“I hope it will lead to a new strategic approach to see Iran as much more of a partner than an adversary,” he told the BBC News Channel.
Former senior diplomat Sir William Patey told Radio 4’s Today programme that it was potentially a “very significant moment” for dealings between the two countries.
“Iran is often seen as the enemy and has seen us as the enemy,” he said.
“Against a backdrop of an improving relationship with the prospect of a nuclear deal, there is a prospect of having a more constructive relationship with Iran because there is a bigger enemy – which is Isis.”
However, he warned the “potential for falling out with Iran is always very high”.
The storming of the British embassy in 2011, in retaliation for UK support for sanctions against Tehran, was one of series of incidents in the past decade that have ratcheted up tensions between the countries.
In 2007, 14 Royal Navy sailors were detained by the Iranian authorities after they were accused of violating Iranian territorial waters.
The appointment of a UK-based British charge d’affaires to Tehran last year was seen as a sign of a thaw in relations and paving the way for the possible re-opening of the embassy.
However, the UK government still has concerns about Iran’s role in Syria, where it is supporting the government of Bashar al-Assad in its fight against rebel groups, and its backing for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The US broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in 1980 after 52 of its embassy staff were held hostage in Tehran.
Via – http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/483026/Iraq-crisis-British-embassy-Iran-relations-William-Hague