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EU wants to return to negotiations with Iran

Brussels, Nov 5, IRNA-The European Union Foreign Ministers' Council is to review the EU's engagement policy with the Islamic Republic during its regular monthly meeting in Brussels on Monday. Cristina Gallach, spokesperson for EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, told reporters in Brussels Friday afternoon that the 25-member bloc has a "constructive attitude" towards Iran.

She stressed that the EU wants to work with Tehran and wants Iran to play "its full role in the region."

Gallach said the EU foreign ministers will discuss over lunch three main developments related with Iran -- the nuclear issue, the recent statements made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Israel, and Iran's international obligations.

She noted that "no progress" has been made on the nuclear issue since the last meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Board of Governors in September.

Gallach described the Iranian president's statements on Israel as "extremely unwelcome."

The spokesperson also noted "no progress" in human rights, democratization, the Middle East peace process, and in Iran's international obligations.

Gallach said the EU is ready to resume negotiations with Iran if the Islamic Republic accepts the IAEA resolution adopted on September 24 calling on Iran to return to the suspension of enrichment activity.

Asked if the EU will call for a referral of Iran's case to the UN Security Council if Tehran rejects the condition, Gallach replied, "This is for the IAEA Board of Governors to decide."

The IAEA is to discuss Iran's nuclear program on Novbember 24.

Negotiations between the EU-3 (Germany, France and the UK) and Iran have been suspended since September when the UN nuclear watchdog, under EU and US pressure, passed a resolution that could refer Iran to the UN Security Council.

Earlier, in August, Iran rejected an EU offer for closer political ties and economic cooperation in return for a permanent suspension of nuclear work by Tehran.

Iran says it has an inalienable right to a full "nuclear cycle," that is, processing its own nuclear fuel under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Meanwhile, other EU diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the EU wishes to return to negotiations with Iran to find a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue.

"We want Iran to comply with IAEA resolutions and return to full suspension," said the sources.

The sources criticized the Iranian president's remarks on the Zionist state as "shocking and completely unacceptable."

"Advocating violence is not the answer to build confidence," said the EU sources.

The EU ministers will also discuss ways to boost cooperation with the civil society and NGOs inside Iran.

Asked if this would also mean increasing support for anti-Iran groups in Europe, including the MKO, the sources said, "No, it doesn't meant that."

Meanwhile, the MKO, which has been designated as a terrorist group by the EU, has organized a rally near the EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday to call for the removal of the MKO from the terror list.

MKO supporters have been distributing handbills and collecting signatures in the center of Brussels since a week ago.

... Payvand News - 11/5/05 ... --

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