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Iran, EU Call For 'New Paradigm' In Middle East

MUNICH -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini issued calls for increased cooperation among the nations of the Middle East.

Zarif and Mogherini spoke in a joint appearance at the Munich Security Conference on February 12.

They said the kind of political will and flexibility that enabled Tehran and global powers to reach a landmark deal to curb the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief could serve as a model for a new approach among Middle Eastern neighbors whose relations are tense.

“All we need to change our paradigm,” Zarif said. “I can assure you, Iran is ready.”

Mogherini said that in the wake of the nuclear accord, "We have started preparing high-level political dialogue between the European Union and Iran."

"This will include talks on investments, economy, trade, energy, climate, but also culture, or what we call people-to-people exchanges, because our people know each other," she said.

Mostly Shi'ite Muslim Iran and mostly Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia differ deeply over Syria, where Tehran supports President Bashar al-Assad while Riyadh wants him out.

Tensions between the two countries flared in January, with a crowd storming the Saudi Embassy in Tehran after Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shiite cleric.

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