Iran "must work with us," Ashton says
Iran has made mistakes in its relationships with the West and must work with the international community over its human rights record and its nuclear programme, the European Union's new foreign policy supremo said Monday, DPA reported.
Catherine Ashton is set to steer the EU's diplomacy over the next five years, making her a key commentator on the bloc's future relations.
Iran is "a country which is steeped in history, and I feel that it has made mistakes. If the country wants to be treated as I believe its history, geography and people deserve, it has to work with us," Ashton said during her confirmation hearing in the European Parliament.
In particular, Tehran's rejection of a plan sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) aimed at breaking the deadlock over its nuclear programme is "highly regrettable," she said, adding that she "deplored" the regime's crackdown on opposition activists.
The EU's most powerful members, Britain, France and Germany, are members of the international group negotiating with Iran on its nuclear programme, alongside China, Russia and the United States.
Ashton's predecessor as the EU's top foreign policy official, Javier Solana, a former nuclear physicist, served as that negotiating group's chief representative.
EU officials said that it remained to be discussed whether Ashton, a former member of British anti-nuclear group CND, would take over that role.