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EU leaders to discuss ties with Iran

Brussels, Dec 8, IRNA -- The Islamic Republic's relations with the European Union will be on the agenda of the EU summit in Brussels on 16-17 December, said EU sources.

Leaders of the 25-member European bloc are also expected to discuss the latest developments in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Sudan and the Ukraine.

Next week's EU summit would be the last under the current Dutch EU Presidency.

From January 1, Luxembourg takes over the six-month rotating EU Presidency.

The European Council, which brings together the heads of state or government of the EU and the Commission President, in its last meeting on 4-5 November in Brussels reaffirmed that it will work to open the way for a durable and cooperative long-term relationship with Iran, including political, commercial and technological dimensions.

The Council underlined the importance it attached to building confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme.

The focus of the summit, however, will fall on Turkey as the EU leaders would have to decide whether to open negotiations with Ankara on EU membership.

Analysts describe recent developments in the EU-Iran ties as "positive" after the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week confirmed that Tehran has voluntarily suspended enrichment activities as a confidence-building measure.

The confirmation by the UN nuclear watchdog followed a deal between Iran and three EU states - France, Germany and the UK - to assure the international community that Iran's nuclear programme was of peaceful nature and not for military purposes.

The E3 and Iran agreed to begin talks mid-December on a long-term agreement that would lead to closer economic, and political cooperation.

... Payvand News - 12/8/04 ... --

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