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Iranian Official Sees 'New Chapter' In EU Ties

14 December 2004 -- A senior Iranian official has spoken of Iran and the European Union opening a "new chapter" in their relations after talks on benefits Iran is to receive for suspending its uranium-enrichment activities.

Hojatoleslam Hassan Rohani, Iran's top negotiator on nuclear issues, spoke after meeting yesterday in Brussels with the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany and EU foreign-policy chief Javier Solana.

"The negotiations we are embarking on today can be indicative of a new chapter in our relations not only with the three European countries but with Europe as a whole," Rohani said.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the EU wanted the negotiations with Tehran to result in "objective guarantees" that Iran's nuclear program can be used for peaceful purposes only.

The Iranian and European sides have opened negotiations on a long-term arrangement under which Iran would receive trade, civilian nuclear technology, and security cooperation from the EU in exchange for Iran suspending its uranium-enrichment activities to demonstrate it is not making nuclear weapons.