Tehran Calls for More Talks With EU

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TEHRAN - Iran said Mon­day that EU sanc­tions over its hu­man rights record were due to “dif­fer­ing val­ues” but that they should not de­rail di­a­logue with Europe.

“We have cer­tain dif­fer­ences of opin­ion with Euro­pean coun­tries and the Euro­pean Union,” for­eign min­istry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said at his weekly press con­fer­ence.

“That is due in part to dif­fer­ing val­ues be­tween our re­gion and the Is­lamic repub­lic of Iran and the Euro­pean Union, no­tably as con­cerns hu­man rights,” he said.

The EU on Thurs­day ex­tended by a year sanc­tions against 82 in­di­vid­u­als and an en­tity ac­cused of “se­ri­ous hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in Iran”.

Qasemi said long-run­ning di­a­logue with the EU should con­tinue, fo­cus­ing on ar­eas of agree­ment and in “a con­struc­tive at­mos­phere of good will”.

“In the com­ing months, there will be sev­eral del­e­ga­tions to dis­cuss dif­fer­ent sub­jects and not just hu­man rights,” he said. “I hope that this can hap­pen in a more pos­i­tive at­mos­phere.” The EU sanc­tions -- first im­posed in the wake of the crack­down on the 2009 protest move­ment in Iran -- block ex­ports of equip­ment “which might be used for in­ter­nal re­pres­sion and of equip­ment for mon­i­tor­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions”.

Mean­while he said the Is­raeli regime’s re­cent deadly at­tack on the T-4 air­base in Syria will not re­main unan­swered.

Qassemi said, “The ag­gres­sion on Syr­ian soil is il­le­gal. That is be­cause of Is­rael’s hos­tile poli­cies vis-à-vis the Mus­lim peo­ple in the re­gion, and Is­rael will re­ceive the nec­es­sary re­sponse sooner or later. They can­not take an ac­tion [as such] with im­punity.”

He also con­doled with the fam­i­lies of the Ira­nian mil­i­tary ad­vi­sors killed in the Is­raeli strike.

He ex­pressed con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of the beloved Ira­nian mil­i­tary ad­vi­sors, and warned Tel Aviv that “gone are the days of ‘hit and run’ for Is­rael.”

“Re­sis­tance forces in the re­gion are able to re­spond at the right place and the right time.”

He said no le­gal ac­tion has been taken in this re­gard, but some [re­lated] is­sues have been dis­cussed.

Is­rael struck the T-4 Air­port in the city of Homs a few days ago. At least seven Ira­nian mil­i­tary ad­vi­sors were killed in the in­ci­dent and sev­eral oth­ers wounded.

He also added that the U.S. was dis­mayed at not be­ing present in the As­tana Talks on Syria, and thus launched the re­cent strikes to di­vide Iran, Rus­sia and Turkey, the guar­an­tor states of a cease­fire in the war-torn state.

Qasemi touched upon the U.S. law­mak­ers’ ob­jec­tion to Washington not at­tend­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions as well as the United States’ pos­si­ble pres­ence in the up­com­ing meet­ings.

“I don’t be­lieve the U.S. will ever end its hos­tile ap­proach. Given the coun­try’s do­mes­tic is­sues to­gether with cer­tain prob­lems which ex­ist in Arab coun­tries, the US be­lieves its sur­vival is con­tin­gent upon war­mon­ger­ing and trig­ger­ing con­flicts.”

Qasemi pointed to the re­cent airstrikes by the US-led coali­tion on Syria, and said, “The coun­tries that have caused this tragedy and com­mit­ted this crime have no right to in­ter­fere in the Syria is­sue with­out doc­u­mented ev­i­dence and the ap­proval of the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for the Pro­hi­bi­tion of Chem­i­cal Weapons (OPCW).”

“They should try their ut­most to make up for this strate­gic mis­take of theirs,” said Qasemi.

The spokesman also touched upon the im­pact of the US-led Syria at­tack on re­gional de­vel­op­ments.

“Europe is not nec­es­sar­ily on the same page as France and Bri­tain are, and Euro­pean coun­tries have dif­fer­ent stances. We will con­tinue our ne­go­ti­a­tions with Euro­pean coun­tries. There have been, and will be dif­fer­ences of opin­ion be­tween us and Europe, but one of the rea­sons be­hind that move (mil­i­tary ac­tion against Syria) was to sow dis­cord among the three coun­tries (Iran, Rus­sia, Turkey) which [seek to] guar­an­tee a cease­fire takes hold in Syria and maybe they (the US, France, Bri­tain) were not pleased with the suc­cess­ful out­come of the As­tana talks,” he added.

“This is a pipe dream be­cause these three coun­tries (Iran, Rus­sia, Turkey) will keep work­ing to­gether to es­tab­lish sta­bil­ity in, and safe­guard the ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of Syria de­spite their dif­fer­ences of opin­ion, which have ex­isted since the past,” said the spokesman.

The spokesman also re­ferred to Turkey’s sup­port for the U.S.-led mis­sile at­tack on Syria.

“From the be­gin­ning when we started this trend, we didn’t have a com­mon stance and each one of us had a dif­fer­ent po­si­tion on Syria,” said Qasemi.

“Dur­ing the suc­cess­ful talks held in As­tana, de­spite the agree­ments and progress made, we were di­vided on some is­sues, and this meet­ing does not mean the three coun­tries are in full agree­ment,” the spokesman noted.

“Re­gret­tably, some coun­tries wel­comed the [US-led] at­tack against Syria on Mab’ath Day, and we are not happy with it and we think it was not a nice thing to do,” he noted.

“How­ever, we should pur­sue the grow­ing trend of As­tana talks with full force and with­out al­low­ing jeal­ous peo­ple [to dis­rupt the process],” he said.

“One of the ob­jec­tives of the at­tack was to trig­ger di­vi­sions be­tween the three coun­tries hold­ing talks in As­tana, and these three coun­tries should re­main vig­i­lant and tread the same path as be­fore to up­root ter­ror­ism and pre­vent the dis­in­te­gra­tion of Syria,” Qasemi said.

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