New British ambassador leaves post in Ottawa

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Britain's new ambassador to Ireland, David Reddaway, will take up the post in August or September. He will replace Stewart Eldon who has been appointed Britain's permanent representative on the North Atlantic Council.

Mr Reddaway comes to Ireland from Canada where he has been Britain's High Commissioner in Ottawa since 2003. He was born in Ottawa in 1953 but raised and educated in England.

He was at the centre of controversy in 2002 when his nomination as British ambassador to Tehran was rejected by the Iranian government.

He was described in the Iranian newspaper Jomhuri Islami as "a Jew who is an MI6 agent".

Mr Reddaway is not Jewish and Britain has insisted he is not an intelligence officer. Britain's foreign secretary Jack Straw described the allegations as "obnoxious in the extreme" and in response downgraded Iran's ambassador in London to the position of charge d'affairs.

It was speculated that the controversy had more to do with a battle between conservatives and reformers in Iran at the time rather than Mr Reddaway, who was later appointed Britain's special envoy to Afghanistan.

He joined Britain's Foreign Office in 1975 and is fluent in Farsi, the main Iranian language. His wife, Roshan Firouz, is of Iranian descent and they have two sons and one daughter.

He served in Tehran as third secretary in the revolutionary years of 1977 to 1980. Later he led the normalisation of Britain's diplomatic relations with Iran in 1990 when he reopened the British embassy there as charge d'affairs.

He was educated at Oundle School in Peterborough, England, and took a masters in history at Cambridge. Before going to university he worked as a volunteer teacher in Ethiopia.

From 1980 to 1984 he served in Madrid and on return to London worked in the Falkland Islands department. In 1988 he was posted to New Delhi as first secretary, leaving in 1990 to reopen the British embassy in Tehran.

He was minister at the British embassy in Argentina from 1993 to 1997 and returned to the Southern European Department in London, becoming its director in 1999.

After serving in Afghanistan he spent a year as visiting fellow at Harvard university before being appointed to Ottawa three years ago.

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