EU Adviser Hails Iran as Pillar of Middle East
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A special adviser to the European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini described Iran as a pillar of the Middle East region, saying Tehran will be a “necessary interlocutor” for Europe, though the two sides may have differing views on certain issues.
In an interview with the Tasnim News Agency in Tehran, Nathalie Tocci, a special adviser to EU foreign policy chief in charge of outreaching to think tanks and coordination of work on a new European Security Strategy, said, “Iran occupies a very special place in the way which Europeans are starting in the Middle East.”
Asked about the prospect of future relations between Tehran and Brussels, Tocci referred to Iran as a country worth betting on.
“If one were to think fifty years from now, which other countries you would bet your money and they would still exist, I can’t think of any Arab country that I would bet my money on, frankly speaking; which doesn’t mean they won’t exist, but I would say I will not bet my money (there),” she explained.
Tocci, also the deputy director of Istituto Affari Internazionali, likened Iran and Turkey to “pillars” of the Middle East, regardless of what the shape of the future developments in the region will be.
As regards hopes about the settlement of differences between Iran and the EU following the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) –a nuclear agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany)- she said though the deal has “created space for a different relationship, I don’t see Iran and Europe moving into a wonderful … convergence.”
However, she added, “from the European perception, and Iran’s perception of Europeans in the region, I would definitely think that moving forward, the EU will see Iran as a necessary partner.”
Pointing to a range of options for bilateral ties between Iran and the EU -as in trade, energy industry, war on drugs and cooperation on climate issues- Tocci said, “there is a very broad spectrum” for collaboration, making a reference to visits to Iran by EU delegations and the “depth and width of the dossiers covered” in the meetings.
“Beyond bilateral issues, when it comes to regional matters, the EU will increasingly see Iran as a necessary interlocutor, with which maybe one disagrees on different issues, but it is a necessary interlocutor,” she underscored.
Since coming into force of the JCPOA, Iran and the EU have held several rounds of negotiations to strengthen relations in all fields.
The two sides are scheduled to hold a comprehensive round of talks in Brussels in December.