EU hails new US openness to Iran

President Barack Obama's new openness toward Iran is a chance for Teheran to reconnect with the international community and find a negotiated settlement to the nuclear issue, the European Union said Monday. "The EU warmly supports the new direction of US policy toward Iran, which opens a window of opportunity for negotiations on all aspects of Iran's nuclear program," the EU foreign ministers said in a statement issued during their monthly meeting. They said Teheran's response to Washington also will set the tone for Iran's relations with Europe, which have soured over concern about Iran's nuclear enrichment program. The US and its allies suspect Iran is developing nuclear arms under the guise of the civilian atomic energy program. Iran denies that, but last week it inaugurated a plant producing uranium fuel pellets for a planned heavy-water nuclear reactor, the final step in the sophisticated nuclear fuel cycle. Since taking office in January, Obama has made overtures to Iran's leaders, saying he ready for a dialogue. Recently, he released a video message to the people of Iran. Iran has been mostly lukewarm to Obama's overtures.