EU foreign ministers call on Tehran to clarify result

June 15th, 2009 - 4:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Luxembourg, June 15 (DPA) European Union (EU) diplomats Monday called for an investigation into allegations of fraud in Iran’s presidential election, but stressed that they wanted better relations with the Islamic Republic.
“First of all, let’s check that (the election) was truly democratic, and secondly, let’s try to keep the dialogue going,” Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb said as he arrived at a meeting with EU counterparts in Luxembourg.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that the EU was “seriously concerned” by allegations of fraud in the vote-counting process and by the government crackdown on opposition demonstrations in the wake of the election.

Iran’s post-election tensions were one of the key topics on a packed agenda Monday as the EU’s foreign ministers debated the question of stability in the wider Middle East.

“We are following developments on the accusations of irregularities in the elections closely… What is most worrying is the violence on the streets,” Italy’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said.

But ministers stopped short of calling for an international investigation into the affair, rather saying that it was for the Iranian regime to decide in the first instance.

“I hope that Iran will really look into all the complaints of irregularities. I have high respect for all the Iranian citizens who showed their discontent and demonstrated peacefully,” EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said.

She also called on Iran’s security forces to “refrain from showing violence” against their own people.

Miliband stressed that the EU’s primary concern was to bring the Iranian regime back to the negotiating table on the question of its controversial nuclear programme.

“Our concern is above all for Iranian engagement with the international community” on non-proliferation, he said.

The EU’s top diplomat, Javier Solana, also said that he was “concerned” by reports of ongoing violence.

But he urged Iran to work for new ties with the EU, saying that the bloc “would like to get engaged and continue to get engaged with the people of Iran and the leaders of Iran”, especially on the nuclear issue, on which he is the West’s top negotiator.

“We have a lot of things to do together,” he said.

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