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Controversy flares over opening of EU office in Iran

Iran's Foreign Ministry has sparked confusion in sending mixed signals about the government's position on opening an EU office in Tehran.
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Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi announced that the legal process for opening a European Union office in Tehran remains ongoing, but his own ministry’s spokesman denied the report. In a Nov. 6 interview with the Iranian Labor News Agency, Takht-Ravanchi said that with improving relations with the EU, “It is now crucial to open the EU office in the Iranian capital.” He added, “Since we have more collaborations [with the EU] due to new developments, it is unmanageable for an ambassador [to Iran] of another European country to take care of Iran-European Union relations.”

On Nov. 7, however, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi, in his weekly news conference, sparked controversy over Takht-Ravanchi’s comments by asserting that there is no “decisive and comprehensive view” on opening such an office in Tehran in the near future. “Negotiations [with the EU] are broad, long, time-consuming and complicated. However, we consider the talks per se as positive in finding common grounds for cooperation,” he said.

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