British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday Britain plans to re-open its embassy in Iran after it was closed two and a half years ago, saying it would establish a small initial presence in Tehran soon.

"I have ... now decided the circumstances are right to reopen our embassy in Tehran," Hague said in a written statement to parliament. Hague said he had discussed the matter with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday.

Britain closed its Tehran embassy in late 2011 after a mob ransacked the mission.

On Monday, Obama met with his national security team to discuss the deteriorating situation after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) group took the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar.

It comes as Obama considers the options available for halting the advance of Sunni militants. US President Barack has insisted it is not his intention for any of his troops to engage in direct fighting.

Shoshank Joshi told VoR what he thought of the US decision to put forces into Iraq.

“I wouldn’t view these as a particularly capable force that could go out and fight ISIS, that could offer the Iraqi Government any major help in staunching the losses up in the north west of the country. I think the US policy – the White House – was really scarred by [the attack on the American diplomatic mission at Benghazi, in Libya] a couple of years ago. So this is really a precautionary move, making sure that all the bases are covered and there’s going to be no embarrassing sudden assault on the US compound that would require a Saigon-style evacuation off the roof.

“These are marines for the embassy, these are not security co-operation, this isn’t a quick reaction force. Americans like to respond to events, if they can, by sea. We’ve seen this in Ukraine, in Libya, in Syria. What they like is having aircraft carriers, marine ships, off the coast that can be safely at a distance, but quickly employed if necessary.

“Putting people in countries – boots on the ground – is not seen as desirable. It’s more risky. And that’s why it’s being emphasised, this is for the embassy, it’s for diplomatic protection. It’s to protect other Americans already there. It is not to go and pile into the fight.

“Iran was discussed at the bilateral talks between the US and Iran, following the nuclear talks. But overall I would caution that we shouldn’t expect too much. It’s true the US and Iran worked together in installing Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister, they worked together in Afghanistan 14 years ago to fight the Taliban.

“The US has ruled out co-ordination or any kind of real military engagement. So I think we are talking here about some pretty mild engagement that probably goes no further than two sides talking about their common interests. The US will say ‘look, what we need is a response that doesn’t involve Iran supporting Shia militias, but instead encourages the Maliki government to reach out to these disaffected Sunnis in Iraq who are the natural constituency of ISIS’.

“And Iran will say, ‘OK, but you have to tell your ally Saudi Arabia to stop backing Sunni forces in Iraq and we have to have Maliki as democratically elected. So we’re not going lean on Maliki too much and we still strongly believe in him’.

“So the two sides have a common interest in making sure the Iraqi state doesn’t collapse in combatting ISIS, but it won’t go very far because they still have different visions about how that can be achieved and their own political bases will not allow meaningful, substantive co-operation on those very narrow areas, like degrading ISIS. It’s just impossible to imagine.”

(VoR)