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. EU renews carrot offer to Iran in nuclear standoff
LUXEMBOURG (AFP) Oct 11, 2004
The European Union reiterated Monday its willingness to renew dialogue with Iran on a host of issues, including trade, if it suspends uranium enrichment activities.

"If Iran on its side is willing to suspend all activities in the field of enrichment for peaceful purposes, we are willing to continue with the dialogue," said Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot.

He described the EU's policy towards Tehran as one of "engagement with a large number of incentives," including a trade agreement "and a number of other measures ... to intensify our cooperation with that country."

He was speaking after the EU, which has long sought a policy of engagement with Tehran in contrast to the US isolationist stance, discussed the issue at a regular monthly meeting of foreign ministers.

Tension is rising ahead of a November meeting of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) directors, where Washington is expected to raise the stakes by calling for the Iran nuclear issue to be sent to the UN Security Council.

EU leaders have expressed disappointment with Iran since February elections there which saw the return to power of hardliners.

The Dutch minister added that human rights remains a key concern.

"We still should send a strong signal that we think that that aspect is very important in our policy," he said.

"We believe the EU should stand united and show its determination both as far as the engagement policy is concerned and of course as far as the condition is concerned that Iran suspends its enrichment activities," he added.

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