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EU says dialogue with Iran to continue


The EU expressed Friday its concern about the conditions under which parliamentary elections are being held in Iran, but underlined that the European bloc's policy to engage the Islamic Republic in dialogue has not changed, IRNA reported from Brussels.

"We are watching developments closely and we are concerned as to what happened in the run-up to these elections," a European Commission source told journalists today in apparent reference to the disqualification of over 2500 candidates.

"The quality of democracy effects our relations with all of our partners. Clearly it is something we take very seriously." "But what it doesn't change is our clear presence to keep channel of communication open and develop ways of talking to Iran." "We are still very keen to maintain all the instruments of dialogue that we have with Iran," said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The EU foreign ministers' council is to discuss ties with Tehran in its formal monthly session in Brussels on Monday. The council will also discuss whether to resume negotiations on Trade and Cooperation agreement which is under an "informal pause" since last year June.

IAEA chief Mohammad El-Baradei's report on Iran might be released on Monday or early next week, noted the source.

"We wanted Iran to sign the Additional Protocol, and they have but we also wanted to see verification of implementation of that." On Iran's suspension of uranium enrichment programme, discussions are going on the definition of that undertaking, explained the source. "We are looking forward to what Mr. Baradei has to say." "But the key point is we don't want to move the goalpost. We don't want to make any additional demands. We are against the idea that new demands be made as condition for the resumption of talks," stressed the source.

If Dr. Baradei is able to give a positive report," then the response should be positive." "I also say that we would be able to pursue our positive ambitions for a relationship with Iran. Obviously there are two sides to the partnership," said the source.

The Irish EU presidency has not decided as yet whether the ministers will issue any conclusions on Iran on Monday. "We want to be able to engage with Iran," said the source, adding that progress on trade negotiations will have to go hand in hand with the dialogue on political and human rights issues.

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