Iran’s new Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says invited by France’s Macron

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Iran’s new Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said French President Emmanuel Macron has invited him to Paris, state TV reported on Tuesday.

There was no immediate comment from the Elysee Palace.

Amir-Abdollahian attended a summit in Baghdad on Saturday alongside regional leaders and Macron, the only leader from outside the region.

“The French were very interested to use the opportunity (of the Iraq summit) to get close to Iran,” the minister was quoted as saying by state TV’s website in a late night report.

“Mr Macron … came to me twice and stressed that ‘we are very interested for you to travel to Paris’,” he said.

“He called his foreign minister over and said: ‘I have invited (Amir-Abdollahian) … and we should review bilateral ties and find solutions to maintain talks’.”

Iran and France, alongside Britain, China and Germany, are the remaining parties to the troubled 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.

The accord promised Tehran international sanctions relief in exchange for limits on its nuclear program, but it was torpedoed in 2018 when former US president Donald Trump withdrew and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

Six rounds of nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers – with the US indirectly taking part – were held in Vienna between April and June in an attempt to revive the accord.

The last round concluded on June 20, with no date set for another.

The Baghdad summit was also attended by the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, with whom Amir-Abdollahian also said he had met.

Baghdad has been brokering talks between regional rivals Riyadh and Tehran since April, with the aim of mending ties that were severed in 2016.

“The Saudi side … said that we are awaiting the new (Iranian) government to be established and that we will resume our relations,” Amir-Abdollahian said, while stressing that no “formal” talks were held between the two.

The ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi won a June 18 election in Iran, succeeding the moderate Hassan Rouhani.

He was inaugurated on August 3 by Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, and sworn in by parliament two days later.

Amir-Abdollahian also addressed accusations on social media that he had breached diplomatic protocol in a group photo at the summit when he stood in the front row next to leaders while other ministers were placed in the second row.

The minister said he felt he had stood in “the true place of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its representative.”

AFP

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