EU tightens relations with Iran

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Iran and the European Union will hold the second phase of high-level talks on a string of issues in the Belgian capital of Brussels next week.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht-e Ravanchi and the Secretary General for European External Action Service (EEAS), Helga Schmid, will lead the talks on November 9.

The sides plan to mainly discuss a variety of issues, including the development of cooperation between Iran and the 28-nation bloc in the fields of politics, economics and the fight against terrorism as well as the settlement of existing regional crises.

The senior Iranian and EU diplomats will also hold discussions about the issue of human rights.

A representative of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights is scheduled to accompany the Iranian delegation.

The first phase of the two-day high-level talks between Iran and the EU were held in Tehran between Takht-e Ravanchi and Schmid in February. The two sides exchanged views about bilateral cooperation in the sectors of energy, trade, banking, the environment and campaign against terrorism and extremism.

The new phase of Iran-EU talks will be held as the European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, paid a day-long visit to Tehran on October 29 and held talks with senior Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The discussions focused on some important issues such as the Syrian crisis and the need for the dispatch of humanitarian aid to crisis-hit people in the Middle East as well as last year’s nuclear agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany started implementing the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on January 16.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related bans imposed against Tehran.