EU Seeks Broader Trade Ties, Mideast Coop.

EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini (L), meets President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Oct. 29.        
EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini (L), meets President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Oct. 29.        

A high-ranking European Union official said the bloc is determined to expand economic relations with Tehran and collaborate with the key Middle East power for the settlement of regional conflicts.

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini made the statement in a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Saturday, IRNA reported.

Mogherini said the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers has prepared the ground for closer economic interactions. “The European Union is committed to honoring its nuclear deal commitments and determined to develop economic cooperation with Iran in line with mutual interests,” she said, pointing to a 43% rise in bilateral trade in the past 12 months, which includes Iran’s higher oil exports to the bloc.

The top EU diplomat said terrorist groups engaged in the Middle East conflicts, including the self-styled Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (recently rebranded to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) terrorist groups, are threats to the whole world and EU needs cooperation with Iran to help resolve those disputes.

  Potential for Partnership  

Rouhani said Iran and the EU have the capacity to form a strong economic partnership, as Tehran possesses vast energy resources, which can be drawn on to ensure Europe’s energy security, has the potential to become a secure transit hub in the region and enjoys a vast educated workforce.

On the same day, Mogherini held a meeting with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in which they discussed bilateral relations and the latest regional developments, particularly international efforts to achieve a political settlement to the Syrian conflict.

The meeting came one day after Syria, Iran and Russia held a trilateral foreign ministerial meeting in Moscow, as part of intense diplomatic efforts to end the over five-year-old crisis in Syria, which has killed hundreds of thousands and left millions homeless.

Mogherini, who entered Tehran on Friday night, finished her short visit on Saturday and departed for Saudi Arabia.

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