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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.

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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