Solana to be asked to visit Iran

08.12.03 @ 17:26

  1. By Andrew Beatty

BRUSSELS - The head of EU diplomacy, Javier Solana is expected to be asked today (8 December) to travel to Iran early next year, in a bid to further the EU’s engagement with the Islamic republic.

Although discussions are ongoing, diplomatic sources have told the EUobserver that members are agreed on the need to send a "positive signal to Tehran" and are set to ask Mr Solana to make an official visit.

The move comes after last month’s announcement from the Iranian authorities to sign up to tougher inspections of its nuclear facilities, after months of negotiation.

Despite that breakthrough, EU Member states are expected to stop short of calling for the resumption of formal, political economic and trade talks, which were earlier suspended because of fears over Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

"We need to make sure we keep room for manoeuvre", said one EU source.

Europe’s capitals are keen to keep up the pressure on Iran to implement the International Atomic Energy Agency’s rules they have signed up to and to press Tehran on human rights.

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