The European Parliament’s President Martin Schulz has arrived in the Iranian capital city of Tehran for meetings with senior Iranian officials aimed at reinforcing ties between the European Union (EU) and the Islamic Republic.
Schulz is expected to hold talks with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani on Saturday during his one-day visit to Tehran.
He is also slated to meet with Secretary of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights Mohammad Javad Larijani and Head of Iran’s Parliament Research Center Kazem Jalali.
‘Chance to enhance ties’
During a joint press conference with Parliament Speaker Larijani in Tehran, Schulz said the EU and Iran are at a point where they are determining the level of their ties.
He said Iran and the EU, having seen the distance between them grow in the past, now have an opportunity to grow closer to one another.
He also thanked Iran for its participation in the recent talks in the Austrian capital city of Vienna on the Syrian crisis, and said he hoped Iran would partake in the next round of the talks, too.
Responding to a question on the Vienna talks on Syria, the European Parliament’s chief said the right of the Syrian people to decide about their political future cannot be ignored.
In response to another question about the relations between Iran and the EU, Schulz said the bloc is interested in expanding its ties with Iran in all areas.
It is the first visit by the head of the 751-seat European Parliament to Iran, which comes after Iran and the P5+1 countries – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany – finalized the text of an agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program in Vienna.
According to the agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran will accept restrictions on its nuclear program in return for removal of sanctions imposed on Tehran by the US and the EU.
Two weeks after the agreement was reached, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also travelled to the Islamic Republic, saying that the 28-nation bloc seeks to revive relations with Iran in all areas.
On October 18, the EU formally enacted the legislative framework for lifting all nuclear-related financial and economic measures against Iran.
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the EU, which along with the European Commission and the EU Council, exercises the legislative function of the 28-nation bloc.