January 9, 2020 / 11:18 AM / 9 days ago

Hungary wants EU position on Iran to be closer to U.S. stance - PM

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban holds an international news conference in Budapest, Hungary, January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Tamas Kaszas

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary wants the European stance on the U.S.-Iran conflict to be closer that held by the Unites States, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday.

The European Union’s foreign ministers meet on Friday in Brussels to discuss the Iran crisis, with a focus on easing tensions between Washington and Tehran.

European Council President Charles Michel said on Thursday he had spoken to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and urged Tehran to comply with a 2015 arms control agreement with world powers to curb its nuclear ambitions. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged world powers to quit the accord that Washington abandoned in 2018 and work for a new deal. Iran has rejected new talks.

“I would like for the European stance, which is not clear on this Iranian issue, to be oriented towards the Israeli-United States stance,” Orban told a news conference.

Orban, who has frequently chafed at EU policy, met Trump last year, when Trump lauded him for being tough on immigration, a policy area in which the two leaders have similar visions. Orban also has warm relations with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

Orban said conditions were in place to evacuate Hungarian troops from Iraq if necessary.

Reporting by Marton Dunai and Krisztina Than; Editing by Toby Chopra and Alison Williams

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