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I write after coming back from Teheran, where yesterday I led a delegation of seven fellow Commissioners: it was the first visit of European officials after the implementation of the deal with Iran and the removal of sanctions.
This was my second official trip to Iran. But in July last year – just days after the agreement was signed – all my meetings focused on the implementation of the deal. This time – three months after its full implementation – we laid the ground for a structured cooperation between Teheran and the European Union. We have touched on a number of sectors that are strategic for both sides: from energy to the economy, from culture to migration, from research to transports, from foreign policy to education. Such cooperation will benefit our citizens both in Europe and in Iran: I think especially of all the young people who welcomed the deal in the streets of their cities, with enthusiasm and pride. They now expect the results that this new page in our relations offers to the whole of them. Yesterday’s visit has opened the way for this: the opportunities the deal has created can now be translated into concrete projects, in all sectors that matter to our citizens life.
It will be a constructive cooperation. Our dialogue will be open, critical at times, because we both know that we clearly have different positions on certain files. Human rights, for instance, a central issue in our relations. We discussed it at length yesterday, and we have decided to launch a structured dialogue on this, a new pillar in our relationship. Another structured dialogue will be at political level, between Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and myself: we will discuss how to solve too many regional crises tormenting the Middle East, how to best fight the terrorists of Daesh, how to stabilise Afghanistan.
We might have differing views and positions, but only the road of dialogue and diplomacy leads to success – as the deal with Iran has shown. It has delivered concrete results, such as the deal’s implementation, and it has opened new possibilities for cooperation. Dialogue and diplomacy, this is the European way to foreign policy.