Iran Nuclear NewsEU's Ashton: EU to continue twin-track approach to Iran

EU’s Ashton: EU to continue twin-track approach to Iran

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Dow Jones: The European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Wednesday the 27-nation bloc will continue its twin-track approach of engaging with Iran while also stepping up pressure over the country’s nuclear issue.

BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)–The European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Wednesday the 27-nation bloc will continue its twin-track approach of engaging with Iran while also stepping up pressure over the country’s nuclear issue.

Ashton said in a statement Iran’s nuclear program remains a “serious concern” and that the first step Iran has to take is to put itself in full compliance with its obligations under the nonproliferation treaty.

“On the EU side, we remain determined to work towards a diplomatic solution on the basis off our double-track approach, which combines pressure with dialogue.”

She said for now increased pressure meant “a strengthening of the implementation of the existing sanctions.”

Ashton also criticized Iran’s government for what she called its “unacceptable” human rights abuses.

She said she remained very concerned about the situation of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

“Despite our efforts to secure verifiable information it remains unclear whether they are under house arrest or otherwise imprisoned. I urge the authorities of Iran simply to grant them the freedom of movement to which they are entitled,” she said.

-By Laurence Norman, Dow Jones Newswires; 32-2471-1480; [email protected]

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