Iran Persuades Lebanese Groups to Resolve Differences

A02537699.jpgIranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tehran’s policy on Lebanon is based on supporting consensus among the Lebanese and encouraging all the relevant parties to move towards mutually agreed solutions. According to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry’s Information and Press Bureau, Mottaki made the remarks during a meeting with visiting Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht here on Saturday, where the two sides explored avenues for the expansion and deepening of bilateral ties and exchanged views about other issues of mutual interest, including possible energy projects, campaign against the trafficking of illicit drugs and Tehran’s peaceful nuclear activities.

De Gucht came to Tehran on Saturday to receive from the Iranian authorities a Belgian national released from bandits’ captivity on Friday.

The Belgian citizen, Stefaan Boeve, 28, was later handed over to his country’s foreign minister at a ceremony, also attended by members of his own family.

During the meeting, Mottaki noted Iran’s anti-drug activities and operations, and reminded that his country has made many sacrifices and paid a heavy price to fight against drug trafficking.

Reiterating that the campaign against narcotics sets Iran’s irrevocable strategy, he expressed regret that drug plantation and production has undergone an eye-catching increase in Afghanistan ever since the British troops took up responsibility for anti-drug operations.

The diplomat pointed out that the negative consequences and effects of the said increase have posed a great danger to the regional and world nations.

Elsewhere, he stressed the need for Iran and Belgium to use the abundant potentials existing in such various areas as energy, joint ventures and implementation of projects to further expand mutual ties and cooperation.

Mottaki also noted the present trend of relations between Iran and the EU and said that Iran-EU contracts have been growingly on the increase in the current year.

Regarding regional developments, the Iranian foreign minister blamed the wrong approaches of the United States for the growth of extremism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He also referred to the issue of Lebanon, and said that developments of that country have now entered a sensitive stage.

Reminding continued exchange of views by Iran and France about Lebanon, Mottaki said, ” Supporting consensus among the Lebanese and encouraging all the relevant parties to move towards mutually agreed solutions set Tehran’s diplomacy on the current developments in Lebanon.”

He also touched on his country’s nuclear issue, and said, “The talks between Iran and the (International Atomic Energy) Agency proved to be fruitful.”

For his part, the Belgian foreign minister appreciated the efforts made by Iranian foreign ministry, interior ministry and governorate of Sistan and Balouchestan province to release the Belgian hostages.

“Transparency and good intention of the Islamic Republic of Iran was much significant and important in this issue,” Karel De Gucht said.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always been on the forefront of the campaign against drugs and we have striven to highlight and praise the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the European Union,” he said.

Concerning Lebanon, the Belgian top diplomat pointed to the different actors in the scene of that country, and said, “Hezbollah has always played a significant role in Lebanon.”

He further noted the recent agreement between Iran and the IAEA, and said, “The recent agreement caused a new round of cooperation between the two sides and Belgium and the European Union support this new trend.”

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