EU Looks to Iran on Syria Crisis

EU Looks  to Iran  on Syria Crisis
EU Looks  to Iran  on Syria Crisis

The European Union’s new foreign policy chief said the bloc would try to step up cooperation with Iran and Russia over Syria, signaling a shift in Europe’s efforts to end the war there.

The comments by Federica Mogherini came after European foreign ministers on Monday threw their support behind a United Nations effort to negotiate a military "freeze" in Syria, starting in the besieged city of Aleppo, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The EU has been tentative in dealing with Moscow and Tehran over Syria. The conflict with Russia over Ukraine has complicated such cooperation, while Europe has prioritized nuclear talks with Iran over other topics. But Mogherini on Monday signaled the EU would no longer let those issues distract from cooperation over Syria.

"The European Union is ready to engage with all regional and international actors with influence over the Syrian parties...namely big (Persian) Gulf countries starting from Saudi Arabia, but also Iran and Russia," Mogherini said in a news conference.

Iran has stayed out of the US-led coalition to fight Islamic State, while stepping up unilateral support for the Iraqi and Syrian governments in their campaigns against the terrorist group.

Mogherini also said Iran was a "regionally important player" and that engagement should go beyond nuclear talks.