Zarif says Iran to broaden ties with EU

February 16, 2016

TEHRAN – The Iranian foreign minister has said Tehran is seeking to broaden its ties with the European Union in the near future.

“It seems that Iran’s relations with the European Union, particularly Belgium, that hosts the EU meetings, will expand in the near future,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters upon his arrival in Brussels on Monday.

He said that talks with the European Union have begun at the level of deputies.

The foreign minister added that during an upcoming visit to Iran by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, the talks with the EU will continue at ministerial level.

As regards the topics to be discussed in his meetings with Mogherini in Brussels, Zarif pointed to the issues surrounding implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Zarif held a meeting with Janusz Lewandowski, the chair of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Iran, earlier the day.

The chief Iranian diplomat described the issue of migrants as a common concern for Iran and the European Union.

“Iran hosts three million Afghans, and the two sides (Iran and EU) can develop good cooperation in this regard,” he added.

For his part, Lewandowski said Tehran and Europe can forge a close partnership to deal with the migration crisis, fight against narcotics, and develop parliamentary relations.

He also highlighted the significant role that Iran can play in the settlement of regional conflicts.

Zarif who arrived in Brussels at the head of a political delegation earlier on Monday also met Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.

----- ‘Syrians will determine their destiny’

Zarif also said that the Syrian people do not need “guardian” and will determine their destiny.

“It is essential for our neighbors to understand the realities, pay attention to them and set aside the illusions and accept the Syrian people’s demand and stop making decision for the Syrians,” Zarif told reporters.

He added, “The decisions should be made by the Syrian people themselves.”

The minister also said that Saudi Arabia is under international pressure to abandon a policy of war mongering in the region.

NA/P