EU: Iran rights violations preventing better ties

A senior European Union official said Thursday that serious human rights violations have continued to occur in Iran in 2006, making it impossible for the EU to improve its relations with Teheran. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said the EU remains particularly concerned by executions of children, clampdowns on independent journalists, and the treatment of women. He said there had been no improvement in any of the EU's areas of concern. "Irrespective of developments on the nuclear issue, without a systemic improvement in the field of human rights our relations cannot develop properly," Rehn told the European Parliament, which passed a resolution deploring human rights violations in Iran, its sixth in two years. Rehn said Teheran has disregarded the EU's appeals for a dialogue on human rights issues.