From the TehranTimes:
TEHRAN (IRNA) — Negotiators from Iran and the European Union will hold their new rounds of negotiations focusing on political and trade cooperation, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said here Tuesday in a statement.
“In this round of negotiations, delegates from the two sides will separately discuss political cooperation as well as trade and cooperation agreement (TCA),” the ministry’s head office for information and press said.
For political talks, the director of Foreign Ministry’s West European office, Ebrahim Rahimpur, will represent Iran, while a representative of Luxembourg Foreign Ministry will head the EU delegation.
As for a trade and cooperation agreement, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s director for multilateral economic cooperation, Kia Tabatabaii, will sit down for negotiations with the director general for economic affairs of the European Commission, Christian Lefler.
The political talks are the fifth of their kind, while negotiations on the trade and cooperation agreement are the sixth, with their last round held in the Belgian capital of Brussels earlier this month.
The EU-Iran talks began after President Mohammad Khatami came to power in May 1997, with the EU taking up a policy of ‘comprehensive dialogue’ with the Islamic Republic in the form of biannual troika meetings on political and economic issues.
The political part of the dialogue covers issues regarding conflicts, including in the Middle East, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, human rights, and terrorism.
On the economic front, the European Union is exploring possibilities for cooperation with Iran in energy, trade and investment as well as refugees and drugs control.
The EU is Iran’s biggest trading partner, with oil accounting for over 80 percent of Tehran’s exports to the EU. Iran also sells agricultural products — mainly pistachios — as well as textiles and carpets to the EU.(…)
Several other Iranian officials have lined up to warn that Tehran might be forced to abandon the diplomatic process if pressed too far.
The key sticking point in the negotiations is uranium enrichment which Tehran has suspended as a confidence-building gesture since last November, but the country insists that it cannot be cajoled to sustain the suspension for good.
The Europeans, represented by Germany, France, and Britain, have been pressing the Islamic Republic on this in return for a package of incentives.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi stressed Tuesday that economic incentives may help improve foreign relations but won’t permanently prevent Tehran from pursuing a peaceful nuclear program.
“Our (nuclear) rights cannot be exchanged for any economic incentives,” he told a news conference….