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EU to tell Powell not to push Iran in the corner

The European Union and the Islamic Republic are to hold the next round of the "comprehensive dialogue" in Tehran on December 15, a sign that Brussels is keen on pursuing the path of dialogue and engagement with Tehran, IRNA reported from Brussels.

Moreover, EU foreign ministers in their meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell in Brussels on Tuesday will appear with one common position vis-a-via Iran, said EU sources.

EU foreign ministers will tell Powell that Iran is cooperating very well with the IAEA on its nuclear program and hence there is no need to refer the issue to the UN Security Council.

They will also tell Powell that Iran`s consent to sign the Additional Protocol to the NPT and to suspend the uranium enrichment and processing activities as very important developments and will warn that pushing around Iran could lead to dangerous consequences.

The ministers will inform Powell that the 12 (present and future) EU members on the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors will vote against referring Iran`s nuclear program to the UNSC, according to EU sources.

The IAEA is to present its report on Iran`s nuclear program on Thursday next week.

Washington`s dismissal of the IAEA report on Iran is expected to be raised by EU foreign ministers in the meeting with Powell. John Bolton, the top US arms official on Thursday dismissed the IAEA assessment that there is no evidence that Iran is making nuclear weapons as "impossible to believe".

Transatlantic relations, Iraq, Iran and the Middle East are the topics on the agenda of the meeting between Powell and the EU foreign ministers.

EU sources in Brussels said that relations with Iran are on the agenda of the EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday.

"EU ties with Iran are under review for some time. We are at an interesting moment. We are coming to a point where we would be able to draw some positive conclusions," said the sources speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The sources pointed out that IAEA head, Mohammad ElBaradei, has reported that he has found no evidence that the Islamic Republic is building nuclear weapons.

The ministers in particular will exchange views on the declaration by Iran on its decision to sign and ratify the IAEA Additional Protocol, as well as voluntarily suspend uranium enrichment and processing activities.

Last month`s visit to Iran by the foreign ministers of Germany, France and the UK was part of the EU policy and engagement with Iran, noted the sources.

The situation in the Middle East and developments in Iraq are among the topics on the agenda of the two-day meeting of the EU foreign ministers` council.

"Security is a big concern in Iraq. The ministers will be looking at what Europe has always said that there is the necessity to transfer power to the Iraqis themselves as soon as possible. The UN has a vital role in that process," said the sources.

The ministers are expected to adopt conclusions expressing solidarity with Italy after the attack on the Italian barracks in Nassiriya.

They will also discuss the political as well as economic reconstruction of Iraq and the follow-up to the Madrid donors conference.

The Council will discuss the situation in the Middle East in light of recent events, including the formation of the new Palestinian government of Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie.

EU-Israel political dialogue will be held on Monday and the fourth meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council will take place on Tuesday.

The EU ministers will assess the political and security situation in Afghanistan ahead of a donors conference in February.

EU-Russia relations, EU-Africa dialogue, weapons of mass destruction, European Security and Defense Policy, Western Balkans are some of the other topics to be discussed by the Council during the two-day meeting.

The Council will discuss the issue of adding a clause on the non-proliferation of WMDs in all agreements between the EU and third countries.

Moreover, the ministers will prepare for the EU summit to take place in Brussels on 12-13 December.

... Payvand News - 11/15/03 ... --

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