British minister to visit Iran on Sunday for talks on tensions

British minister to visit Iran on Sunday for talks on tensions

Britain’s Middle East minister Andrew Murrison will visit Iran on Sunday for “frank and constructive” talks, the Foreign Office said, amid escalating tension between Tehran and Washington after the downing of an unmanned U.S. drone, Reuters reports.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he aborted a military strike to retaliate for the drone incident because it could have killed 150 people, and signaled he was open to talks with Tehran.

Iran responded on Saturday by saying it would respond firmly to any threat against it, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

“At this time of increased regional tensions and at a crucial period for the future of the nuclear deal, this visit is an opportunity for further open, frank and constructive engagement with the government of Iran,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Murrison, a junior minister in the Foreign Office, will call for urgent de-escalation in the region and raise concerns about “Iran’s regional conduct and its threat to cease complying with the nuclear deal to which the UK remains fully committed,” the statement said.

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