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Israel: EU diplomatic office in Iran a ‘grave mistake’

Jerusalem calls on Brussels to rethink its plans to open a mission in Tehran; cites terror support, anti-Israel rhetoric

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a final press conference of Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria on July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a final press conference of Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria on July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)

Israel on Thursday warned that the European Union was making a “grave mistake” by opening a diplomatic office in Iran.

Earlier Thursday, EU Foreign policy head Federica Mogherini announced plans for a mission in the Islamic Republic in a statement marking one year since the signing of the landmark nuclear deal.

In a statement from the Foreign Ministry, Israel called on Brussels to rethink the move, citing the Iranian regime’s continued support for terror, grievous human rights violations, and anti-Israel rhetoric.

“It is the world’s worst state sponsor of terror. It funds murder throughout the Middle East. It hangs gays and brutally represses its own people. Iran brazenly violates its international obligations while literally emblazoning its missiles with ‘Israel will be wiped out,’” the statement said. “Iran should not be rewarded as it spreads murder and mayhem across the world.”

The nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of powers (Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States) limited Tehran’s atomic program in return for the lifting of some international sanctions, which took effect in January.

In the European Union statement, Mogherini, who visited Tehran in April, did not detail what shape the mission would take, calling it “an EU Delegation in Iran.”

“The European Union supports a strategy of gradual engagement that is comprehensive in scope, cooperative where there is mutual interest, critical when there are differences and constructive in practice,” she said.

There has been some disappointment in Iran that the lifting of the sanctions has not yet led to significant investments, with many international investors and banks still wary of doing business with the Islamic Republic.

Despite the lifting of nuclear-related penalties, Washington and the European Union maintain some sanctions on Iran over its human rights record and ballistic missile testing.

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