Message of Cooperation Conveyed to Paris

Amessage by President Hassan Rouhani was handed to his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on Friday stating Iran’s willingness for closer relations and cooperation on the political settlement of regional conflicts.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif relayed the message in a meeting at the Elysee Palace, where they exchanged views on bilateral relations and regional developments, according to an Iranian Foreign Ministry press release.

Speaking after the meeting, Zarif described the meeting as “very good” and said Macron is eager to help forge closer economic ties with Tehran and play a more active role in the region.   

“Although we have differences over some issues, there are various grounds for cooperation,” he told IRIB News.

It was the first face-to-face conversation between an Iranian official and the newly-elected French president who won a landslide in the early May elections.

Analysts believe the presidency of the business-friendly centrist augurs well for Tehran-Paris ties.

Rouhani signed an array of deals estimated to be worth $33 billion during his historic visit to France in January 2016, days after the July 2015 nuclear deal came into effect.

  Internationally Beneficial

On Thursday, Zarif sat down for talks with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Senate President Gerard Larcher.

Zarif told Le Drian that the continued implementation of the nuclear pact, in whose conclusion France played a big role, is in the interest of the world.

Although the international community is satisfied with the deal that settled a long-running dispute between Iran and western powers, the controversial US President Donald Trump has called it "disastrous" and is currently reviewing whether it can abandon its obligations under the deal.

The nuclear accord removed international sanctions imposed over unproven allegations that Tehran seeks nukes, but many overseas banks and firms still steer clear of Iranian market over concerns of falling foul of vague, unilateral US sanctions on Iran.

Zarif called for efforts to remove obstacles to closer banking relations and more active cooperation between French and Iranian bankers.

"Iran is seeking expansion of relations with France, especially in economic fields, where they have the required capacities to jointly produce and export to third parties," he said.

Le Drian voiced his country's support for the nuclear deal, expressing hope it will endure in the coming years. In a separate meeting, Zarif told Larcher that Iran attaches high importance to ties with France, which is a major trade partner.

Zarif said Tehran will welcome the stronger contribution of Europe toward settlement of conflicts engulfing the Middle East.

Larcher said his country also deems its Tehran relations important.

"France is keen on regular political consultations with Iran regarding regional crises," he said.

Zarif on Thursday arrived in Paris on the third leg of a three-country European tour that started on Monday and has taken him to Italy and Germany.

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