Tehran Ready for Developing EU Ties

Tehran Ready for Developing EU TiesTehran Ready for Developing EU Ties

President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran is ready for the development of its ties with the European Union, stressing that plans need to be made to give a boost to bilateral relations on the basis of shared interests.

Rouhani made the remarks in a meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Saturday, according to the website of the presidential office.  

He said the imposition of sanctions on Iran was a wrong policy in the first place.

"EU members suffered the heaviest loss during the sanctions years, which is why we should restore and expand relations in the new era in a way that it can make up for the past."

Underscoring the fact that the swift and precise implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the official title of the July 14 nuclear pact with major powers) could have a profound impact on the development of ties, he noted, "Administrative measures and preparations to terminate sanctions require serious momentum on the part of all parties, especially the EU."

Rouhani stated, "We have always had good and traditional relations with EU states… because of which ties need to be revived and strengthened again."

"Although European countries have dispatched delegations to Iran, special plans need to be formulated to execute programs in the economic, trade, cultural, scientific, educational and technological areas immediately in the post-deal era."

***Scourge of Terrorism

Describing terrorism as a scourge in the region, Rouhani underlined the need for cooperation in addressing regional issues.

"If no practical approach is taken to eradicate terrorism, it can plague other regions as well."

"If we all agree that the biggest challenge in Syria is the activities of terrorist groups, it will be easier to propose a solution, since for the fight against extremism we will have no choice but to strengthen the central government there," the president stated.   

He said some countries have misunderstood priorities regarding the Syria crisis; nonetheless, Iran is ready to help deal with the formidable challenge through cooperation and consultations with other countries with the aim of reaching a collective agreement.

***Cooperation Replaces Confrontation

Highlighting the need to expand ties between Iran and the EU, Tusk said, "Lifting sanctions means choosing cooperation over confrontation and protecting interests rather than generating tension."

"The process of quick implementation of the JCPOA is not simple; nevertheless, with determination of the parties and the EU's active role, achieving the ultimate purpose seems to be within reach."

Commenting on the plight of the Syrians, Tusk said, "The EU is ready to engage with Iran to help stabilize the region beyond political slogans, as terrorism is no longer a regional concern and has become a global menace."

Members of the Iranian nuclear negotiating team and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini were present at the meeting.

***Rouhani Meets UN Chief

Rouhani also held talks with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday and urged him to make every effort to ensure the implementation of the World Against Violence and Extremism resolution as well as the JCPOA.

In December 2013, the UNGA overwhelmingly voted to approve Rouhani's WAVE initiative, which calls on all nations across the globe to denounce violence and extremism. The president had made the proposal in his address to the UN Disarmament Conference in New York on September 25, 2013.

The president said the Middle East is faced with severe crises, including terrorism and drought, due to which thousands of innocent people have been displaced; hence, the UN, world powers as well as regional states should shoulder the responsibility to rectify the chaotic situation.

Criticizing foreign intervention in Syria, Rouhani noted, "Some states are seeking to overthrow the central government in Syria before fighting terrorism, whereas to eradicate terrorism, the first step should be to strengthen the central government which is responsible for the fight."

The UN chief expressed condolences on the death of Iranian pilgrims in the Hajj crush tragedy last Thursday.

He also said, "The media widely cover your [Rouhani's] trip to the UN which is indicative of your constructive role in the region."