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Germany's Merkel backs 'constructive dialogue with Iran'


Berlin, May 6, IRNA -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel here Wednesday reaffirmed support for an active diplomacy with Iran aimed at settling the row over Tehran's nuclear program.

Addressing a joint news conference with Jordan's King Abdullah, Merkel said, "We are supporting a constructive dialogue with Iran ... ."

Merkel pointed again to the '5 plus 1' cooperation offer for Iran.

The German leader welcomed the US readiness to hold direct talks with Iran, saying Berlin and Washington were in 'close contact' over the issue.

The chancellor's latest remarks followed recent statements by the spokesman of the German Foreign Ministry Jens Ploetner who voiced his country's interest in having a 'partner-like relationship' with Iran once the impasse over Tehran's nuclear program was resolved.

"We think that if progress can be achieved in the Iranian nuclear dossier, a wide range of cooperation possibilities could be opened with this important country in the Middle East," the German official was quoted saying.

"We wish to have a partner-like relationship with Iran," added Ploetner.

UK welcomes EU support for new US engagement with Iran

London, May 6, IRNA - The British government has welcomed the EU backing the new direction of US policy in seeking to directly engage with Iran after more than 30 years of hostilities.

At their General Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg last week, EU foreign ministers said the change in policy "opens a window of opportunity for negotiations on all aspects of Iran's nuclear programme and more broadly for engagement with Iran."

The EU affirms its full and unequivocal support for efforts to find a negotiated long-term solution to the Iranian nuclear issues," the foreign ministers said in their conclusions.

In a written parliamentary statement published Wednesday, Britain's Minister for Europe Caroline Flint said that the EU's High Representative Javier Solana updated the meeting on his contacts with Iranian officials following the E3+3's invitation for talks.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband attending the council "underlined the need for the EU to adopt a robust approach in support of the US Administration's decision to engage with Iran," Flint said adding, "Solana agreed that the EU should be ready to act."

She added that the EU was "calling upon Iran to engage seriously with the international community in order to find a negotiated solution to the nuclear issue which will address its national interests, while noting that the evolution of the EU's relations with Iran will also depend on it."

Prior to the Luxembourg meeting, British Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown said that Miliband "will encourage the EU to state its clear support for the new US approach."

"We will stress the opportunity that the E3+3 offer presents to Iran and the necessity for the EU to give its full backing to the renewed diplomatic efforts and the dual track strategy," Malloch-Brown said, adding that Britain looked to the council "to issue conclusions to that effect."

The General Affairs Council was the first since the E3+3 last month set out a new US-led approach to break the logjam in the years of dispute over Iran's civilian nuclear program, instructing the EU High Representative to invite Iran for talks to find a "diplomatic solution."

Following the change of approach, the Foreign Office told IRNA that Britain was hopeful that the "new direction" of US policy under President Barack Obama towards Iran would lead to progress to resolve the dispute over the country's civilian program.

"The US reiteration of the importance of pursuing a diplomatic solution through the dual track approach; and its commitment to be directly involved in future E3+3 meetings with representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran has the potential to give renewed impetus to international efforts on the nuclear file," Foreign Office spokesman Barry Marston said.

Marston highlighted that in the medium term, the US' readiness for direct engagement with Iran presents the "opportunity for a transformed relationship" between Iran and the US. "These are prospects which Britain strongly welcomes," he said.

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