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EU to decide how to take forward Iran relations

London, Nov 4, IRNA-EU Foreign Ministers are to discuss policy towards Iran at their General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on Monday and that conclusions were expected, Britain's Europe Minister Douglas Alexander has revealed.

"The Council will focus on how the EU should take forward its relationship with Iran taking into account developments in the EU's areas of concern," Alexander said in a statement to the British parliament, published Friday.

He said areas of concern include "Iran's nuclear programme, human rights record, approach towards terrorism, and opposition to the Middle East Peace Process."

Foreign Minister from the 25-member bloc would also discuss recent remarks made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about Israel's right to exist, the minister said.

It is not known whether the conclusions from the discussions will go any further forward than reiterating areas of concern and calling on Iran to return to talks on its nuclear programme with the so- called EU3 of Britain, France and Germany.

During parliamentary business questions on Thursday, leader of the House of Commons Geoff Hoon also revealed that Foreign Secretary Jack Straw set out several concerns about Iran at Prime Minister Tony Blair's weekly cabinet meeting.

In response to calls to allow MPs to debate relations with Iran, Hoon said that he wanted to emphasise again the "importance" that the British government attaches to the situation in Iran, which he referred to as "disturbing" but set no date for a debate.

On Tuesday, Foreign Office Minister Lord Triesman told parliament that the British government, which is the current president of the EU, was adopting a cautious diplomatic approach towards peacefully resolving.

"Cutting links with Iran will do nothing to advance those objectives. The United States, which has no contacts with Iran, continues to urge us to maintain our contacts with Iran to try to keep some dialogue going," Triesman said.

... Payvand News - 11/4/05 ... --

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