On Monday morning, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani posted a photograph of his meeting with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on his official Twitter account.
“First #British Foreign Secretary to visit Iran since 2003.” Rouhani tweeted.
Unimpressed, one apparent UK writer replied, “Yes well I still think it was incredibly rude of you to leave that graffiti in the embassy for them to see when they returned.”
Hammond allegedly said during his meeting with the Iranian president that the UK is “ready to improve its relations with Iran to the ambassador level,” British sources said.
Hammond told Reuters on Monday, “We could be talking as early as next spring to start to see sanctions lifting off.” He added that an endorsement of the nuclear deal by the U.S. Congress could come as early as mid-October.
Nevertheless, he told the BBC in an interview that there are still points of disagreement on important issues.
“We should tread carefully,” Hammond said. “There’s a deep legacy of distrust on both sides and we have major areas where we have very substantial policy differences.”
Hammond said both countries see “eye to eye” on the need to go after Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists. But when it comes to dealing with its own human rights issues, Iran has not come close to the British point of view.
In addition, he said, there is still a gap in the viewpoints of the two countries on how to address the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Britain maintains that Assad cannot be part of a future Syrian government.
Iran, however, is a firm ally of the besieged president, who is responsible for the torture and slaughter of hundreds of thousands of his own people, including women and children.
Iranian “consultants” – political, economic and military – still remain in Damascus, as well as thousands of elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps troops.
Iran has also generously funded the presence of supplementary Hezbollah terrorist guerrilla troops to support the Syrian government forces, and continues to send Assad a steady supply of funds and arms.