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EU travel ban on Iranian FM suspended

Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran

The European Union has suspended a travel ban on Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, an EU spokesperson announced on Tuesday.

Salehi was placed on the sanctions list and banned from entering the EU in November 2009 due to his previous role as the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, which is on the EU sanctions blacklist.

"Technically he stays on the list, but the application of the travel ban has been suspended," said Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Kocijancic added that it was normal for foreign ministers not to be included on sanctions lists so they could carry out their role of interlocutor with other countries, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters, EU states favored suspending the ban for the sake of engaging with Iran in the long-running nuclear dispute, but the issue was sensitive for the Netherlands, which froze diplomatic contacts with Iran after the hanging of a Dutch-Iranian woman in January for drug smuggling.

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