The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Iran's Zarif makes surprise visit to G7 summit for talks Open in fullscreen

The New Arab & agencies

Iran's Zarif makes surprise visit to G7 summit for talks

Zarif was not expected to hold face-to-face talks with US President Donald Trump. [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 August, 2019

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
Iran's top diplomat made a surprise visit to the G7 summit in Biarritz on Sunday but was not expected to meet Donald Trump or any other US officials.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif flew into Biarritz in southern France for the G7 summit on Sunday in an unexpected and dramatic attempt to break a diplomatic deadlock over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme.

Zarif's presence had not been announced and represented an attempt by French host Emmanuel Macron to find a way to soothe spiralling tensions between Iran and the United States.

He was not expected to hold face-to-face talks with US President Donald Trump but the presence of the two men in the same place sparked hopes of a detente.

"Zarif... has arrived in Biarritz... to continue talks regarding the recent measures between the presidents of Iran and France," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi tweeted, after flight tracking sites spotted that Zarif's plane had landed in Biarritz.

The French presidency confirmed his arrival but emphasised no talks were planned with the American side.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that Trump had in the past said that if Iran "wants to sit down and negotiate he will not set preconditions," adding he would not make any more comments about "who's here" at the G7.

Macron held talks with Zarif in Paris on the eve of the G7 summit and has been leading efforts to bring Tehran and Washington back to the negotiating table.

Trump's policy of applying "maximum pressure" on Tehran via crippling sanctions has been criticised by European powers and is seen as raising the risk of conflict in the Middle East.

Macron has urged the US administration to offer some sort of relief to Iran, such as lifting sanctions on oil sales to China and India, or a new credit line to enable exports, French officials have said.

This is seen as a first step to get Iran back to the negotiating table, which could then lead to a new international agreement to limit its nuclear programme.

Last year, Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of a landmark deal on the nuclear programme reached between Iran, the US, European powers, Russia and China.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More