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EU hardens position towards Iran

Brussels, Sept 14, IRNA -- The EU Foreign Ministers' Council has called on Iran to suspend all nuclear enrichment activities and also decided to support a Canadian resolution in the UN on human rights in Iran.

"Iran would be expected to agree with full suspension of enrichment activities," Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot told a press conference Monday night at the end of the foreign ministers' meeting.

The Netherlands holds the current EU Presidency.

"That is a requirement which was voiced in the past, complete suspension of enrichment activities and once that is satisfactorily complied with, we would be prepared to enter more detailed dialogue with Iranian representatives to explore possibilities of future increased cooperation."

He said the Council has decided to co-sponsor a Canadian resolution on human rights in the UN, "which is important because we are now convinced that the human rights situation in the country has deteriorated over the last few years."

For the last two years, the EU had not tabled any resolution in the UN on human rights in Iran.

Analysts see the move as hardening of EU position towards the Islamic Republic.

"We have appreciation of the efforts made by the EU 3, France, Germany and the UK to bring about satisfactory and generally acceptable resolution," said Bot.

"But what is most important is that the cooperation with the IAEA will have to be intensified, that international cooperation is absolutely crucial to boost and reinstitute international confidence that Iran will exclusively use its nuclear programme for peaceful purposes," added the Dutch minister.

... Payvand News - 9/14/04 ... --

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