EU’s Prospective Tehran  Office Could Boost Relations

EU’s Prospective Tehran Office Could Boost Relations

Lawmakers see the expected launch of an EU office in Tehran as a significant step toward developing wide-ranging and close bilateral ties, a target previously announced by the two sides.
"The opening of the EU diplomatic mission in Iran could help facilitate various aspects of bilateral ties," Ardeshir Nourian, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told ICANA on Saturday.
"Conditions should be improved for the establishment of offices representing other countries and international bodies [in Iran]. These missions will ultimately enhance political and economic relations."

  Costly Break
Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, another member of the commission, said years of sanctions that shut the lucrative Iranian economy to the world have cost Europeans "dearly" and now they are trying to recoup the loss.
He concurred with Nourian, saying, "If such an office is opened in Iran, the two sides can set up joint commissions which, in turn, will help expand their relations."  
Remarks by the legislators followed an EU statement released on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the nuclear deal between Iran and major powers on Thursday in which the bloc reiterated its interest in promoting bilateral cooperation.
EU and UN sanctions were lifted and the application of non-nuclear US sanctions was stopped when the accord went into force on January 16 to roll back Tehran's nuclear program in return.
Iran's emergence from years of sanctions has opened up a rare opportunity for it to rejoin the international fold and jumpstart its hobbled economy.
"The European Union reaffirms its commitment to further developing relations with Iran, in particular in areas such as trade, energy, human rights, civil nuclear cooperation, migration, environment, fight against transnational threats such as drugs, humanitarian cooperation, transport, research, education, culture and regional issues," said the statement carried on the website of the European External Action Service.  
  Gradual Engagement
"In this regard, it takes note of the final joint statement from the visit of [EU foreign policy chief Federica] Mogherini to Tehran with a group of commissioners. The European Union supports a strategy of gradual engagement that is comprehensive in scope, cooperative where there is mutual interest, critical when there are differences and constructive in practice. As part of that, the European Union intends to open an EU Delegation in Iran."
A team of seven European commissioners accompanied Mogherini on her one-day trip, which took place three months after the deal's implementation day.
The trip by the high-powered delegation was aimed at capitalizing on the pact by establishing a foothold in Iran's untapped, profitable market.
It produced agreements of cooperation on everything from banking to energy to transport.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Mogherini issued a joint statement during the visit, announcing that the bloc would pursue opening a full diplomatic mission in Tehran.
The two sides have exchanged delegations and held several meetings since.

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