Iran Nuclear NewsEU laments disqualification of Iranian reformists, warns over nuke...

EU laments disqualification of Iranian reformists, warns over nuke talks

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AFP: The European Union voiced deep disappointment Monday over the decision by Iran’s election watchdog to eliminate many pro-reform candidates for June presidential polls. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, also presses Tehran to abide by its nuclear commitments ahead of crunch talks with European negotiators this week. AFP

BRUSSELS – The European Union voiced deep disappointment Monday over the decision by Iran’s election watchdog to eliminate many pro-reform candidates for June presidential polls.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, also presses Tehran to abide by its nuclear commitments ahead of crunch talks with European negotiators this week.

The Guardians Council, an unelected watchdog body that vets all candidates for public office, announced on Sunday that just six men out of 1,014 would-be candidates can stand to succeed incumbent reformist President Mohammad Khatami.

“We were very disappointed by the decision of the Guardians Council not to authorize many candidates for the elections, particularly those who were reformists,” he said after regular monthly talks with his EU counterparts.

The EU meeting came two days before EU-Iran talks aimed at easing tension over Iran’s nuclear plans, with the EU warning Iran could be referred to the UN Security Council if it reneges on a vow to suspend key atomic activities.

“There is a clear reaffirmation that the Iranians have to respect the commitments entered into last November,” in an accord hammered out with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain in Paris last November.

“The commitments cannot be circumvented. This is very important for further relations between the EU and Iran,” he added.

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