Zarif’s trip to France not related to G7: spokesman

August 26, 2019

TEHRAN – Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Monday that the Iranian foreign minister’s trip to France was not related to the G7 summit and was carried out due to a request from the French side.

“Mohammad Javad Zarif’s trip was unrelated with the G7,” Rabiei said during a press conference in Tehran. “The French government has taken an initiative and held talks with the U.S. to reduce Iran-U.S. tensions.”

He said Iran welcomes the gesture of goodwill by France, but plays no role in the France-U.S. talks.

Zarif on Sunday paid a surprise visit to Biarritz, France, where the G7 leaders were meeting.

The visit came only hours after sources said French President Immanuel Macron had been given mission by his G7 counterparts to engage in talks with Iran.

“We agreed on what we wanted to say jointly on Iran,” Reuters quoted Macron as saying. “There is a message from the G7 on our objectives and the fact that we share them is important, which avoids divisions that in the end weaken everybody.”

Later on Sunday, Zarif said in a tweet that he had met with the French president as “Iran’s active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues.”

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the accord, also known as the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

However, U.S. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the international nuclear deal in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Macron has recently stepped up diplomatic contacts with Tehran in a bid to allegedly ease the Tehran-Washington tensions.

MH/

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