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EU enlargement will broaden EU-Iran cooperation

Brussels, April 20, IRNA -- The entry of ten new states to the EU on May the first will have a positive effect on the EU-Iran relations, according to Iran's ambassador to Brussels, Abolghasem Delfi.

"We have very good relations with the ten countries that will join the EU and we think that their membership would lead to wider cooperation between us and the EU," Delfi told IRNA in an interview.

He underlined that the biggest enlargement in the history of the EU will enhance and boost the role of the European bloc on regional and international levels.

Iranian defense minister Ali Shamkhani last week paid a 3-day official visit to Poland which is the largest of the ten countries that are to join the EU on 1 May.

Delfi noted that relations between the EU and the Islamic Republic of Iran with regard to their special geographical situation are of great importance.

Iran's role in maintaining security and stability in the Persian Gulf region and in the Middle East are factors which the EU considers as of great significance.

"Hence the EU gives top priority to its relations with the Islamic Republic. On the other hand, EU's economic and political weight and its role in international developments are factors to which the Islamic Republic attaches great attention," said Delfi.

Iran's top diplomat to the EU said that June is a month of significant developments when three major meetings will be held, the EU-US summit, the NATO summit and the G-8 summit.

He said the three gatherings of western leaders will focus on developments in Iraq and the Middle East .

Referring to the situation in Iraq, Delfi said stability and peace in the neighbouring country is of vital importance for Iran.

"Iran supports all regional and international efforts to restore security and stability in Iraq," he told IRNA.

Delfi noted that the EU member states were divided over Iraq and hence "we have not seen any effective EU role there as yet."

Delfi said some EU foreign ministers, including Belgium's Louis Michel, have called for a more influential role of the EU in Iraq and in the Middle East.

"Iran would welcome a more active and effective EU role in Iraq," stressed Delfi.

On Afghanistan, the Iranian ambassador regretted that promises made by the international community for the reconstruction of Afghanistan have not been fulfilled with the result that drug cultivation has increased a lot in recent years.

Iran is in constant cooperation with the European Commission and EU member states to combat drug trafficking from Afghanistan, he said.

Commenting on the fact that the EU this year did not table a resolution on human rights in Iran in the UN Human Rights Commission, Delfi said the EU and Iran have launched a dialogue on human rights.

Three rounds of this dialogue have already taken place and the fourth round is under preparation.

"Dialogue is the best way to resolve any differences, particularly in human rights issues on which there are divergence of views and opinion," he said.

The EU has realized that continuing dialogue is better than tabling resolutions, commented Delfi.

... Payvand News - 4/20/04 ... --

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