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Former French PM Calls on Zarif, Velayati
National

Former French PM Calls on Zarif, Velayati

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held talks with former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin in Tehran.  
In the meeting on Monday, the foreign minister said Iran has put several proposals on the table in nuclear talks with the major powers to help resolve the dispute over its nuclear program, IRNA reported.  
Zarif said, "In the latest round of negotiations (in New York), the talks entered a critical stage and Iran put several offers on the table."
 He reiterated that it is the other side's turn now to demonstrate its resolve to reach an agreement.  
The senior diplomat said, "Unfortunately, excessive demands of some negotiating parties have hindered the process to reach an agreement."
 The foreign minister touched on Iran-France relations and said, "The relations can be promoted in various spheres."
He referred to the recent trip of a French economic delegation to Iran and said, "The visit was made in spite of the US opposition."
On the recent developments in Syria, Zarif described the military solution to the crisis in Syria as ineffective and said it should be addressed through adopting a diplomatic approach.
He added, "The Syrian nation is the only authority to decide on their future."
"The role of people and the incumbent government should be taken into consideration while seeking any solution; those who think of toppling the government in Syria should bear in mind that the Islamic State (IS) group would take power as an alternative."  
De Villepin, for his part, described a final comprehensive deal between Iran and the P5+1 as significant and emphasized that clinching a final deal will affect the whole region. The former French prime minister stated that the West has made great mistakes in the Middle East leading to expansion of extremism, adding they now feel concerned about their youths who are among IS fighters.
A 140-member delegation from France arrived in Tehran early this year to hold talks with economic officials. The French economic delegation met with members of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture as well as businessmen and business leaders.
Many European companies have expressed readiness to resume their activities in Iran since last November when an interim nuclear deal was reached between Iran and the six major in Geneva. Under the Geneva accord, some anti-Iran sanctions were temporarily lifted.

  Support for Iraq, Syria Against IS
In a separate meeting with the former French official on Tuesday, Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to the Leader, said, "We have backed Iraq and Syria in their fight against Islamic State terrorists.
"Security in Iraq and Syria is of great importance to us and we are making efforts to restore security in the region," the Mehr news agency quoted the chairman of the Expediency Council's Center for Strategic Research as saying.  
He touched on Iran's role in addressing regional issues, particularly in the campaign against terrorism, and said, "Iran consistently monitors and evaluates the situation in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. The security in these countries is of high importance to the region and the entire world."
De Villepin said he intended to hold talks on various regional and international issues with Iranian officials during his visit.

  Nuclear Rights Must Be Upheld   
Zarif, in a separate meeting with the new Belgian ambassador to Tehran, referred to nuclear talks with the P5+1 and said, "Iran will reject any deal in which the rights of the Iranian nation are not recognized," IRNA quoted him as saying on Monday night.  
The foreign minister received the copy of the credentials of Francois Delhaye and expressed hope that Tehran-Brussels relations would expand especially in the economic sphere.
Zarif pointed to the latest developments in the region and said, "Unfortunately, certain countries pursue wrong policies in Syria given the circumstances in the region."  
Delhaye also expressed hope that the two countries would enhance bilateral relations in various fields, saying, "There are great capacities to promote mutual cooperation."

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