EU foreign affairs head Mogherini to visit Iran

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Brussels, March 14 (IANS/AKI) The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will visit Iran in mid-April in a bid to strengthen post-sanctions cooperation following the landmark nuclear deal – despite criticism of the country’s recent missile tests.

“My next visit will take place on the 16th of April together with other commissioners,” she said Monday as she went into a meeting of EU foreign ministers centred on turmoil-wracked Libya.

“We will discuss with the ministers on which grounds, on which issues and sectors to re-engage so as to reopen full relations” with Iran, she said.

Mogherini did not mention Iranian ballistic missile tests this month which have sparked criticism and alarmed many, especially the US and France which on Sunday warned Iran that it risked new sanctions as a result.

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The US warned on Sunday that Iran is in breach of UN Security Council rules, and Tehran’s arch-foe Israel has called on world powers to act.

Mogherini visited Iran last July shortly after world powers agreed to lift crippling sanctions in exchange for Tehran accepting strict curbs on its atomic programme to prevent it acquiring nuclear weapons.

A key provision of the July accord allows them to be restored or “snap-back” immediately if Iran is found to have breached its commitments.

Mogherini helped negotiate the accord and she has been anxious to return to build on the momentum and boost bilateral ties but also to seek Tehran’s help in resolving the Syrian civil war and other regional conflicts.

“Syria is always a point very high on our agenda,” Mogherini said on Monday.

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