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Iran, EU to resume trade, cooperation talks mid-December: official

Vienna, Nov 29, IRNA -- Iran and the Europeans will resume their trade and cooperation negotiations as of mid-December, putting their political, economic and security cooperation back on track, after they were stalled over Tehran's nuclear dispute.

A senior Iranian diplomat told IRNA here Monday that the Europeans announced their readiness for resuming the operation of 'Iran-EU working committees' during Sunday night negotiations.

The announcement came as Iran and the EU troika of Germany, France and Britain reached an agreement over Tehran's suspension of uranium enrichment activities.

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 negotiations are seen as a feather in Iran's cap amid Washington's efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic at the nternational scene.

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 Teheran's exports to the EU. Iran also sells agricultural products -- mainly pistachios -- as well as textiles and carpets to the EU.

... Payvand News - 11/29/04 ... --

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