EP President: EU supports expansion of its ties with Iran

President of the European Parliament (EP), Martin Schulz said the European Union (EU) is interested in increasing its ties with Iran and that Tehran's role in settlement of regional crises cannot be ignored.

He made the remarks in Brussels during a joint parliamentary session between EP and a visiting delegation of Iranian lawmakers headed by Chairman of Iran-EP Relations Committee, Kazem Jalali.
The meeting was also attended by Iran's plentipotentiary ambassador to Belgium Mahmoud Barimani, and Janusz Lewandowski, Chairman of EP-Iran Relations Committee.
In spite of differences between Iran and EU, Schulz told the Iranian parliamentarians that the European side is eager to expand its relations with Tehran.
Referring to Iran's historical contribution to the global civilization, he said the European Union is interested to set up a representative office in Tehran.
Schultz welcomed the expansion of ties in the field of parliamentary diplomacy and supported the on-going nuclear negotiations between Iran and P5+1 group of world powers saying he is hopeful of reaching a final agreement which he called it a giant historical step.
The ranking European lawmaker also expressed his satisfaction over the invitation of the Iran's parliament speaker to visit Tehran and said he would plan the visit in shortest possible time.
Jalali, for his part, briefed the EP side on the latest developments in the Middle East including Yemen, Iraq and Syria.
Referring to the common interests between Tehran and EU, he said that Iran is the best scenario for diversifying Europe's energy sources. 'Europe has no alternative but to approach Iran as the world's largest owner of gas resources.'
He also expressed Iran's seriousness and commitment in the nuclear talks and said, "'The current round of talks has its ill-wishers inside and outside the region which requires prudence of the Western side."
The Iranian lawmaker further criticized recent statements by the French President, Francois Roland while visiting Saudi Arabia and added that they were not in conformity with the EU and P5+1 countries' approach.
In his capacity as member of the Parliament Standing Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, Jalali elaborated on Iran's heavy human and financial losses in the fight against narcotic trafficking from Afghanistan to European countries.
He said the Daesh terrorist group is enrolling members from Al-Qaedah in Afghanistan and plans to use narcotic trade in order to achieve its targets.
On the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen, he said the crisis was ignited amid inter-Yemeni negotiations which were interrupted by the Saudi intervention.
Saudi Arabia could contribute to the political settlement of the Yemen issue, he added, but it has turned to the major problem by killing civilians and destroying their infrastructure.

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