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EU Energy Needs Give  Impetus to Enhanced Ties
National

EU Energy Needs Give Impetus to Enhanced Ties

An international relations expert says European countries see an incentive to improve relations with Iran due to their need for energy supplies, the reason why they push for the resolution of the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.
In an interview with IRNA, Ali Khorram said, "The Europeans, more than Americans seek to strengthen economic ties with other countries, including Iran."
The former diplomat said, "The European Union is in search of oil and gas supplies beyond Europe, which is not true in the case of the United States," noting that the US has managed to turn into an oil exporter from being an importer, thanks to its shale oil projects and its energy reserves.
He continued, "The US economy is far stronger than the economy of EU member states altogether."
The analyst pointed out, "In this line, the Europeans are in need of economic cooperation with countries possessing oil and gas resources," adding that they are afraid of any tension in Moscow-Washington relations, which if continues may affect their gas supplies.
Khorram stated, "The Europeans show preference for oil and gas-rich countries and try to improve relations with Iran, a country with huge energy resources and an 80 million-strong market."
He went on to say that Iran is a permanent and safe market for the Europeans, but due to political issues they have been deprived of such a market.
He added that the initial cracks in the sanctions will make Europe more interested in the resumption of relations with Iran.
  Keen Interest to Re-Enter Market
The former ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said numerous visits by political and economic delegations from Germany, Britain, France, Austria and Switzerland to Iran and the attempts by European companies, such as Peugeot, Renault and Total, to re-enter the Iranian market after Iran and the major powers signed the Geneva interim deal in November 2013 indicate their keen interest to amend ties with Iran.
Khorram said the Iranian market and economic relations with Tehran hold a great attraction for the Europeans and they are willing to bypass the current political obstacles to develop relations with Iran in one way or another.
The political analyst also emphasized that relations between Iran and Europe are directly influenced by the Tehran-Washington relations.
He stated, "The volume of trade between Europe and the US is far greater than their trade with Tehran or Moscow, so they can easily overlook relations with Iran and Russia for the sake of their ties with the US."
The academic said, "Whenever the US expresses dissatisfaction with relations with Iran, the Europeans stop taking any action (to improve ties)."
He continued, "We should wait for the political problems to be resolved, the Europeans are trying to help solve the political challenges between Iran and the US, for which they are encouraging the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1(the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany)."   
Khorram reiterated, "The Europeans expect Iran and the US to find solutions for their problems to pave the way for them to expand relations with Tehran."
The analyst said he believes that the Europeans are keen to see better Iran-US relations so that they can return to the Iranian market.
Touching on the role of China and Russia in Iran-US relations, he said, "China shows a slight interest in better relations between Iran and the US, but due to current tensions between Moscow and Washington, Russia does not pursue such a policy."  

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