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New round of EU-Iran trade talks kicks off in Brussels

Brussels, May 17, IRNA-The European Union and Iranian officials began the seventh round of negotiations of a trade and cooperation agreement (TCA) in Brussels on Tuesday morning, aiming at strengthening economic and trade cooperation between the 25-member European bloc and the Islamic Republic.

The 12-member Iranian delegation is led by Kia Tabatabaei, director general for economy at the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

The EU party is led by Christian Leffler, director of the European Commission's Middle East and South Mediterranean department, at the two-day meeting.

In parallel, a political dialogue between Iran and the EU negotiators will begin in Brussels Tuesday afternoon.

Ebrahim Rahimpour, director general for Western Europe at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, is leading his country's delegation to the political negotiations.

The current Luxembourg EU presidency will lead the EU in the political dialogue.

TCA negotiations linked to a political dialogue were launched in Brussels in December 2002 to put the EU-Iran cooperation in a contractual framework.

The negotiations were put on hold in June 2003 due to the EU concerns over Iran's nuclear program.

They were resumed last December following an agreement with Iran and the EU troika of Germany, France, and Britain over Tehran's voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment activities.

The political dialogue revolves around human rights, regional security in the Middle East, fight against terrorism, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

... Payvand News - 5/17/05 ... --

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