EU to Review Policy of Diplomacy with Iran
European Union foreign ministers will review the bloc's policy of engagement with Iran on Monday following Tehran's decision to resume its nuclear programme and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's anti-Israeli remarks.
EU leaders have strongly condemned Ahmadinejad's statement that Israel should "be wiped of the map" which this week prompted U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to cancel a planned visit to Tehran.
EU ministers will deplore Ahmadinejad's remarks and express their concern about human rights violations in the country and Tehran's decision to restart uranium enrichment
But they will not threaten Iran with sanctions, a draft statement showed. Instead, they will warn Tehran that the EU's policy of dialogue with Iran will be kept "under close review in light of progress on the nuclear file and other issues". READ MORE
The foreign ministers will also call on Tehran to lift trade sanctions against Britain, which were imposed last month because of London's opposition against the nuclear activities, which Iran insists are purely for peaceful purposes.
"Discrimination between any EU member states by Iran in any field is unacceptable," the draft statement said.
"(The Council of ministers) calls on Iran to lift all discriminatory restrictions against individual member states, which could impact negatively on Iran's desire to pursue greater cooperation with the EU," it added.
The 25-nation bloc will also discuss Iran's approach to the Middle East peace process and say that Ahmadinejad's remarks on Israel cause concern about Iran's role in the region and "its future intentions".
Tehran says Ahmadinejad's comments were a restatement of its pro-Palestinian policy and did not represent an actual threat of violence against Israel. Iran refuses to recognise Israel's right to exist and supports Palestinian militant groups such as Islamic Jihad.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Tehran wanted better ties with the EU.
"Iran expects the EU ministers to carefully consider the current situation and try to strengthen its ties with Iran at tomorrow's meeting," he told state television.
EU ministers will also discuss the situation in the Middle East and urged Israel and the Palestinians to keep up progress on a "road map" for peace drafted by the bloc together with the United States, the United Nations and Russia.
The EU will express concern about the continued violence in Gaza and the West Bank and stress the need for the Palestinian Authority to clamp down on militants responsible for attacks on Israel. It will also urge Israel to show restraint.