Hollande Zarif Discuss Ties, Mideast

Hollande Zarif Discuss Ties, MideastHollande Zarif Discuss Ties, Mideast

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met French President Francois Hollande in Paris on Wednesday to discuss bilateral relations and the chaotic situation enveloping the Middle East.

Zarif and Hollande followed up on the implementation of the agreements made between Tehran and Paris during a landmark visit by President Hassan Rouhani to the European country in January.

The two men exchanged views on the ways to find political solutions to various conflicts in the region, especially Syria, IRNA reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, Zarif met the President of the French Senate Gerard Larcher and Parliament Speaker Claude Bartolon.  The foreign minister also held talks with his French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault, in addition to meeting Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the chairperson of the Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces of the French Senate.

  Potential for Collaboration

After the meeting with Raffarin, Zarif addressed the committee.

Zarif said with the lifting of international sanctions on Iran under last year’s nuclear deal with world powers, there is no obstacle to closer banking relations between the two countries and this should help them boost mutual cooperation. “In view of the long history of economic cooperation between Iran and France, there is huge potential for working together in various fields, including the auto industry,” he said.

“By returning to the Iranian market, you can benefit from a massive [educated] workforce to produce [goods] and export them to the region.”

The minister also touched on the issue of terrorism in the region, saying all nations need to contribute to efforts to root out the scourge that is taking the form of genocide and  devastating innocent lives.  

“We, as [a major] victim of terrorism, welcome efforts to address this universal threat,” he said. “All countries should be ready to acknowledge the problems and help find ways to solve them.” Zarif arrived in France on Tuesday. Late on Wednesday, he was scheduled to head for the Netherlands.