The European Union has affirmed that there will be no change in policy towards Iran despite the election of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. Brussels says it will pursue its priorities: addressing the nuclear issue and human rights in Iran. EU High Representative Javier Solana has however expressed concerns about the conduct of the poll: “I have my doubts about some of the manners in which the election has taken place but in any case I want to wait and see the actions more than the words.” Solana stressed that the new Iranian administration must abide by its predecessor’s commitments to nuclear non-proliferation. “Let me tell you very clearly: nothing, nothing will be accepted by us which is not in the terms of the Paris agreement,” he told reporters. That view was echoed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. London, Paris and Berlin are jointly spearheading nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic. “Obviously people will be watching very closely what is happening with the new Iranian president. Our view, very strongly, is that the engagements that Iran has entered into must be respected. Mr. Ahmadinejad would be making a serious mistake if he thought we were going to go soft on Iran, because we are not.” The ultra-conservative former Tehran mayor was elected at the weekend with a landslide. His victory prompted concerns in the West he would adopt a hawkish foreign policy and curtail the reforms introduced by his moderate predecessor. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has called Ahmadinejad “no friend of democracy, and no friend of freedom.”
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