Iran reaches out to Jack Straw – Media roundup: July 25th, 2013

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Iran reaches out to Jack Straw

The president-elect of Iran has reached out to Britain in an attempt to end years of mutual enmity and restore diplomatic links. Hassan Rowhani has approached Jack Straw, the former Foreign Secretary, and asked him to attend his inauguration in Tehran next month. Mr Straw, an old acquaintance of Mr Rowhani, received the invitation through representatives of another country in London, in the clearest indication yet that the president-elect wishes to improve ties with Britain. Diplomatic links between the two countries have been frozen since a mob attack in 2011 on the British Embassy in Tehran, which prompted the expulsion of all Iran’s diplomats from London. Family commitments will prevent Mr Straw attending the ceremony on August 4, but mindful that the approach offers a rare opportunity of direct talks with the new regime in Tehran, he has asked if he may visit the Iranian capital in the coming weeks. “I have made clear to the Iranian Government that I would be delighted to visit Tehran, either in the next ten days or in the weeks after the inauguration,” he said. “I have a high regard for Dr Rowhani. I believe it is in our interest to reach a negotiated settlement with the Iranians on all outstanding issues including the nuclear dossier and I have every confidence in his good faith. He is tough but a man of his word.” – The Times(£)

War on Wonga

The Archbishop of Canterbury  has vowed to put payday lenders out of business by using the Church to build up Britain’s network of credit unions. The Most Rev Justin Welby has told Errol Damelin, the founder and chief executive of Wonga, about his ambition to make the controversial lenders redundant – by helping the 500  financial co-operatives, which already provide small loans to their members, play a much bigger role in helping  people with money problems. The Church of England has already set up a credit union for its own staff,  which will advise the other co-ops on how to expand their reach. Officials believe the problem is not the number of unions but ensuring greater access to them. The Church will allow them to use its buildings and schools and encourage Church members with the right expertise to volunteer with them. –Independent

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