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Iran, EU to resume trade cooperation soon

Vienna, Dec 29, IRNA -- The economic and trade working groups of Iran and the European Union will resume their negotiations in Tehran or Brussels in the next two weeks, it was announced in the Austrian capital on Wednesday.

Diplomatic sources in Vienna said Wednesday that the negotiations which will probably start on January 12, will review Iran-EU future cooperation.

A western diplomatic source told IRNA that Iran-EU political and security working group will also hold talks in mid January.

According to reports, representatives from EU council and commission will take part in the two sides' political and security negotiations.

Iran-EU negotiations within the framework of the three working groups are based on expansion of political, economic and nuclear cooperation between the two sides.

The EU delegation in bilateral negotiations in the three fields of economy, politics and nuclear cooperation is headed by Britain, Germany and France, respectively.

Several rounds of talks on a mutual trade and cooperation agreement (TCA) had been held between the two sides before Iran's nuclear issue was catapulted into the center of their talks.

The EU-Iran talks began after President Mohammad Khatami came into power in May 1997, with the EU taking up a policy of 'comprehensive dialogue' with the Islamic Republic in the form of biannual Troika meetings on political and economic issues.

The political part of the dialogue covers issues regarding conflicts, including in the Middle East, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, human rights and terrorism.

On the economic front, the European Union is exploring possibilities for cooperation with Iran in energy, trade and investment as well as refugees and drugs control.

The EU is Iran's biggest trading partner, with oil accounting for over 80 percent of Tehran's exports to the EU. Iran also sells agricultural products mainly pistachios as well as textiles and carpets to the EU.

... Payvand News - 12/29/04 ... --

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