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Iran welcomes EU envoy Solana's planned visit to Tehran

Iran on Wednesday welcomed a planned visit by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana to Tehran in early 2004 as a 'positive' gesture, but reiterated its position that the country would not accept any pre-conditions in its foreign ties, IRNA reported from Tehran.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will seize on the chance to examine in detail with Mr Solana how to cohesively enhance all political, economic and parliamentary aspects of ties as well as our country's expectations from the union," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

"Relations between the Islamic Republic and the European Union have taken shape according to mutual respect and understanding and within the framework of guaranteeing their common interests," he added.

Asefi, however, stressed that "the Islamic Republic of Iran will not accept any pre-conditions in adjusting its foreign relations."

Solana is said to visit Iran in the New Year to discuss a host of issues, including Tehran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on peaceful use of nuclear energy as well as "the modalities of taking forward the EU's dialogue with Iran in all areas."

No date has been fixed yet for the visit, but diplomats in Brussels have been cited as saying that the trip would be in January.

The EU is negotiating a trade and cooperation agreement with Iran, which would deepen economic and commercial ties between the two sides.

The EU ministers stressed on the sidelines of a meeting in Brussels Monday "the EU's readiness to explore ways to develop wider cooperation with Iran".

Asefi also stressed Iran's commitment to the international nuclear safeguards and hoped that "the European Union will have a realistic understanding of the existing atmosphere of bilateral ties, in particular at a time of constructive dialogue since the Tehran Declaration".

... Payvand News - 12/10/03 ... --

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