French FM Fabius in Iran for talks with senior officials
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has arrived in the Iranian capital, Tehran, to hold talks with the country’s high-ranking officials.
Fabius, who arrived in Tehran on Wednesday morning, is scheduled to sit down with President Hassan Rouhani and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
During his day-long visit to Iran, the top French diplomat is also expected to sit down with Iranian Minister of Industry, Trade and Mines Mohammad-Reza Nematzadeh as well as the head of Iran’s Department of the Environment, Masoumeh Ebtekar.
Upon arrival in Tehran, Fabius said that an economic delegation of French big companies will visit Iran in September.
Fabius’ visit to Iran is the first by a French foreign minister to the Islamic Republic in 12 years.
His visit to Iran, which comes at the invitation of his Iranian opposite number, has raised criticisms in Iran, especially over France’s hard line towards Iran in the course of negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program which resulted in an agreement in the Austrian city of Vienna earlier this month.
Days before the conclusion of the talks on July 14, Fabius urged other negotiators to take a tough stance on Iran, insisting that Paris will not sign off on a deal if Tehran rules out inspections of its military sites as part of the final agreement.
Fabius is also under fire for his role in the export of HIV-contaminated blood products to a number of countries, including Iran, in the 1980s, when he was in office as France’s prime minister.
The French senior official’s visit to Iran comes as giant French auto makers, including Peugeot and Renault, are eager to return to the Iranian market following the conclusion of Iran’s nuclear talks.
French energy company Total has also expressed willingness to revive ties with oil- and gas-rich Iran.
Before sanctions were imposed against Iran over its nuclear program, car makers Peugeot and Renault were major players in the Iranian auto industry while and Total was also involved in the country’s oil sector.