The European Union's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, announced plans Monday for a high-level visit to Iran in the coming months, to explore areas of cooperation with Tehran now that sanctions related to its nuclear programme have been lifted.
The West ended wide-ranging economic measures on Iran at the weekend, after experts confirmed that Tehran had kept its side of a landmark agreement with six major powers to significantly curb its nuclear programme.
The move spells the end of Tehran's international isolation, which had been brought on by Western fears that the country was trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Mogherini said Monday that the implementation of the nuclear deal marked not only a turning point for the security and stability of the region, but also "opens new ways for bilateral cooperation," in comments following a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
During the talks, she updated the ministers on plans to visit Iran "during the spring, hopefully," with other officials from the European Commission, in order to study "different areas of cooperation."
This would take place after Iran's elections, she added. The country is due to go to the polls on February 26.
Mogherini said there was no date yet for the visit, although the plans were at a "very advanced" stage and had been discussed with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, most recently during talks in Vienna at the weekend.
"This opens the way for a major EU investment in our bilateral relations that we will need to explore in detail with the Iranian authorities to make sure that this covers their interests, our interests and that we coordinate well among Europeans," she added.