News ID: 1100
Published: 0241 GMT September 03, 2014

Zarif in Rome on last leg of European tour

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in the Italian capital of Rome on Wednesday on the last leg of his three-nation European tour to hold key talks with senior officials.

 

He is in Rome at the invitation of his Italian counterpart Federica Mogherini following his visits to Belgium and Luxembourg.

Zarif and Mogherini, who will replace incumbent EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in November, were expected to discuss mutual issues, Iran's nuclear energy program and regional developments.

In a meeting with Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn on Tuesday, Zarif said terrorism and extremism are threats to the region and the entire world, stressing that all support for terrorism must end.

"All [countries] should help solve this problem and those who are providing financial, military and intelligence support for terrorism should end their support,” Zarif said.

He added that Iran and Luxembourg attach importance to human rights, noting that principles, values and ideas of countries must be respected as an important basis for dialogue and interaction.

Zarif also expressed Iran's determination to improve relations with Luxembourg in all areas.

Asselborn, for his part, said Iran enjoys a leading position in the region and stressed the importance of exchanging views with Iranian officials on a variety of issues.

He added that like other member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Asselborn pointed out that ties between Tehran and Luxemburg City should be based on mutual respect, not on the basis of sanctions.

The Iranian foreign minister exchanged views in Brussels on Monday with Ashton, who represents the P5+1 in the nuclear talks, on ways to proceed with the negotiations with a view to reaching a comprehensive agreement.

Zarif also met President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy in Brussels to discuss Iran-EU mutual interests, Tehran's nuclear energy program and countering terrorism and extremism across the Middle East.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—the US, France, Britain, Russia, China—plus Germany signed a historic interim deal in the Swiss city of Geneva in November 2013. The agreement went into force on January 20 and expired six months later.

In July, Iran and the six countries agreed to extend their negotiations until November 24 in a bid to work out a final accord.

   
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