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Iran: Ambassador To Britain Returns To Tehran

London, 3 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's ambassador to London has returned to Tehran amid a dispute over the arrest in Britain of a former Iranian diplomat. A British Foreign Office spokesman today said the departure of Morteza Sarmadi on 1 September was "not a downgrading of relations."

Ties have been strained between Iran and Britain since the arrest on 21 August of Hadi Soleimanpour in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and wounded some 200 others.

Britain detained Soleimanpour -- who was Iran's ambassador to Buenos Aires at the time of the bombing -- shortly after Argentina issued an international warrant for his arrest.

Iran has said the case is politically motivated and has no legal basis. Iran cut economic and cultural ties with Argentina following Soleimanpour's arrest.