The UK and Iranian governments have engaged in talks that could pave the way for the reopening of embassies in London and Tehran, according to British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

The UK shut Iran’s embassy in London after protesters stormed its counterpart in Tehran in November 2011, in a demonstration against economic sanctions.

“It is clear that the new president and ministers in Iran are presenting themselves and their country in a much more positive way than in the recent past,” Hague told the UK parliament on 8 October. “There is no doubt that the tone of the meetings with them is different. We must test the Iranian government’s sincerity to the full, and it is important that our channels of communication are open for that.”

The countries plan to appoint non-resident diplomats and talks have occurred regarding the conditions for overseas staff.

Relations between Tehran and the West appear to have thawed since President Hassan Rouhani took office in August. In a historic phone call in late September, Rouhani and US President Barack Obama held the first talk between leaders of Iran and the US since 1979.

Rouhani said during his visit to New York for the UN General Assembly in September that he wanted to reach a solution to Tehran’s nuclear standoff within the next six months.