FT Thursday 25th September 2014

David Cameron and Hassan Rouhani meet in UN amid signs of thaw

David Cameron, the British prime minister, held talks with Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic, in New York on Wednesday, in what was the first meeting of the political leaders of the two countries since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. David Cameron was overheard coming out of the meeting commenting that he had just taken part in “a little bit of history.” Rapprochement between the Britain and Iran has occurred at a slow yet steady pace since Rouhani’s election as President in 2013, and it has been planned that Britain will reopen its embassy in Iran later this year. Britain is a member of the P5+1 group that has been locked in negotiations with Iran over the country’s nuclear program for over 12 months now. Whilst a deal has yet to be reached between the two sides and a deadline for talks to finish is fast approaching, the meeting between the two leaders is an indication that the hostility and mistrust that has plagued relations between the two countries in the past three decades appears to be shrinking. Cameron and Rouhani will most likely have discussed the rise of ISIS in Iraq, a group that both the UK and Iran see as a threat to their national security. Whilst cooperation in fighting ISIS between Iran and the West has yet to materialise, it is looking increasingly likely that mutual interest will bring the two former antagonist parties closer together.


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