Last updated: 20 October, 2013

Iran nuclear deal could improve ties with Europe

An accord reached with world powers over Iran’s controversial nuclear programme could help Tehran foster better ties with Europe, visiting members of the European Parliament said here Sunday.

“It is of great importance for the European Union to reach an agreement with Iran,” said Hannes Swoboda, head of a three-member MEP delegation from the socialist and democrat faction visiting Tehran.

Accompanied by Ana Gomes and Veronique de Keyser, he made the remarks in a meeting with Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani, the ISNA news agency reported.

Iran and EU nations could once again become “trustworthy partners” if “both sides take advantage of the current situation and take steps towards a final agreement” to resolve the nuclear issue, Swoboda said.

The unofficial visit comes amid raised hopes of Iran constructively engaging the international community following the election of President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who has pledged a new approach to the talks.

Rouhani, who took office in August, has promised more transparency on Iran’s nuclear drive, which the West suspects is aimed at military objectives despite repeated Iranian denials.

Larijani, the conservative speaker of Iran’s parliament, expressed support for negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 — the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

“These negotiations could achieve constructive results if conducted in a just and logical framework, and if previous excuses are overlooked,” he said without elaborating.

Iran is hoping the talks revived in Geneva last week will lead to the lifting of harsh international sanctions that have damaged its economy.