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But they have become increasingly strained as the West accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons — a charge Tehran denies.

In recent years, Iran was angered by Britain’s decision in 2007 honor author Salman Rushdie with a knighthood.

Mr. Rushdie went into hiding after Iran‘s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a 1989 fatwa, or religious edict, ordering Muslims to kill the author because his novel “The Satanic Verses” allegedly insulted Islam.

The decision shortly after Iran detained 15 British sailors and marines in March 2007 for allegedly entering the country’s territorial waters in the Gulf — a claim Britain denies. The 15 were released after nearly two weeks in captivity.

In 2006, angry mobs burned the Danish flag and attacked Danish and other Western embassies in Tehran to protest the reprinting of a cartoon deemed insulting to the Prophet Muhammad in the Nordic country’s newspapers.

Associated Press writer David Stringer in London contributed to this report.