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EU foreign policy chief Mogherini admits Iran deal difficulties

The EU will support Iran's bid to join the World Trade Organization. At the highest-level talks with the country in more than a decade, the bloc urged Tehran to refrain from further ballistic missile tests.

The European Union's top diplomat Federica Mogherini admitted difficulties in implementing Iran's nuclear deal, but maintained that the agreement was on track during her visit to Tehran on Saturday.

Mogherini personally helped negotiate the nuclear deal between Iran and the US, Great Britain, Germany, France, China and Russia. The six powers led by the US agreed in July 2015 to lift sanctions that had locked down much of Iran's economy for years in exchange for limits on Tehran's nuclear program.

The former Italian foreign minister - and the team of seven European commissioners who accompanied her to Tehran - agreed to cooperate with Iran in different fields, from banking to energy and transport issues.

"It is in the European interest and in the Iranian interest to make sure that banks engage and feel confident to come to Iran and facilitate and support this new economic engagement," Mogherini stated at a news conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran.

Zarif also urged the US to remove hurdles to Iran gaining access to the global financial system.

The EU and Iran will exchange business missions in the second half of this year. According to a statement of the EU, Brussels will assist Iran in becoming a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

At the same time, Mogherini said the EU was troubled by the more than 1,000 executions in Iran last year, Tehran's ballistic missiles and its funding of blacklisted militant groups.

Mogherini stated that she did not see Iran's recent ballistic missile tests as a breach of the nuclear accord, but she added that this was a "worrying step."

das/rc (Reuters, AFP)

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