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Daily Israel Report

Cameron and Rouhani Discuss Iran's Nuclear Program

British PM David Cameron becomes the first UK prime minister in more than a decade to call an Iranian president.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/20/2013, 4:45 AM

British Prime Minister David Cameron
British Prime Minister David Cameron
Flash 90

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday became the first UK prime minister in more than a decade to call an Iranian president.

According to the BBC, Cameron phoned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the two discussed Iran's nuclear program.

The two men "agreed to continue efforts to improve the relationship" between the UK and Iran, a spokesman from 10 Downing Street told the network.

"The two leaders discussed the bilateral relationship between Britain and Iran, welcoming the steps taken since President Rouhani took office, including the appointment of non-resident charges d'affaires last week,” said the spokesman.

"They agreed to continue efforts to improve the relationship on a step by step and reciprocal basis."

Last week Britain resumed its ties with Iran, two years after severing diplomatic relations due to a 2011 embassy attack 

Britain’s Foreign Office has named Ajay Sharma, currently the head of the ministry’s Iran department, as the next British Ambassador to the Regime state.

Iran ordered British officials to leave the country in 2011, after determining their allegiance with the U.S. in stopping a nuclear Iran. Three days later, a government-organized student protest ransacked the embassy, burned the British flag, and chanted hate slogans against Western powers.

Britain responded by all diplomatic relations with Iran, closing the embassy and evacuating British nationals. 

Tuesday’s phone call between Rouhani and Cameron came one day before talks between Iran and the West on the nuclear program are to resume in Geneva.

A round of talks earlier this month failed to achieve an agreement.

The spokesman told the BBC that both leaders agreed that significant progress had been made in the recent Geneva negotiations and that it was important to "seize the opportunity presented by the further round of talks.”

"The prime minister underlined the necessity of Iran comprehensively addressing the concerns of the international community about their nuclear program, including the need for greater transparency,” he said.

Since being elected in June, Rouhani has worked to smooth relations with the West. His efforts were rewarded when he received a telephone call from U.S. President Barack Obama in September, the first of its kind between an American and Iranian president in more than three decades.

Israeli leaders have expressed concern at Rouhani's overtures, suggesting that the Iranian president's speeches may cover an agenda that is not unlike his predecessor’s, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.