Iran Nuclear NewsEU backs Obama’s outreach to Iran, urges diplomacy, draft...

EU backs Obama’s outreach to Iran, urges diplomacy, draft says

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ImageBloomberg: European Union governments are set to back President Barack Obama’s bid to reach out to Iran, putting the emphasis on diplomacy over sanctions to quell the “grave concern” over the country’s nuclear program, a draft EU statement said.

By James G. Neuger

ImageApril 24 (Bloomberg) — European Union governments are set to back President Barack Obama’s bid to reach out to Iran, putting the emphasis on diplomacy over sanctions to quell the “grave concern” over the country’s nuclear program, a draft EU statement said.

The statement, to be released by EU foreign ministers on April 27, urged a negotiated settlement with Iran and made no explicit call for the tighter economic sanctions that the U.S. is considering.

“The EU warmly supports the new direction of U.S. policy toward Iran,” said the draft, obtained by Bloomberg News. “The EU calls upon Iran to seize this opportunity to engage seriously with the international community.”

Iran has defied three sets of United Nations sanctions against its nuclear-enrichment activities, denying Western suspicions that it is seeking a weapons capability.

Obama’s bid to end a three-decade diplomatic freeze between the U.S. and Iran “opens a window of opportunity,” the EU statement said. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana is working to broker the next round of talks between world powers and Iran.

The only allusion to sanctions in the EU text came is a reference to the UN-led “dual-track process” of pursuing negotiations while standing ready to tighten the economic screws.

By contrast, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this week that the U.S. re-engagement with Iran will be coupled with the threat of “crippling” sanctions in case the regime in Tehran presses ahead with the nuclear program.

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