French speaker: No peace in Mideast without Iran



French Parliament Speaker Claude Bartolone says the Middle East will see no lasting peace without Iran’s participation. 

Bartolone made the remarks on Thursday in a phone conversation with Ali Larijani to congratulate him on his re-election as the Iranian parliament speaker.

“I believe the most important issue today is the fight on terrorism which Iran should play its role in this regard,” the French speaker said.

“Without Iran, the region will not witness a lasting peace,” he added, according to Iran’s state news agency IRNA.

Iran is helping Syrian and Iraqi governments drive out foreign-backed terrorists from the two Arab countries.

The Islamic Republic is one of the key partners to Syria peace talks which are currently suspended after a Saudi-led delegation abandoned the negotiations in Geneva.

Bilateral ties    

Bartolone said he will visit Tehran in “the near future,” adding there are important issues for consultation between Iranian and French officials.

Hassan Rouhani visited Paris in January, part of the first European visit by an Iranian president in 16 years.

The trip, which followed Rouhani’s visit to Rome, aimed to boost Tehran’s trade with Europe after years of sanctions.

“Bilateral ties and expansion of economic relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and France entered a new phase” with President Rouhani’s visit, Bartolone said.

The speaker said France is interested in interaction with Iran in such fields as the fight on terrorism, expansion of bilateral ties and cooperation between Iran and the EU on guaranteeing peace and stability in the Middle East.

Despite France’s tough line during negotiations for a nuclear deal, Paris and Tehran traditionally have had a special economic relationship.

Aviation, automobiles, and oil are three key industries on which their economic cooperation is based.

Iran is in the process of buying 114 Airbus jets and has announced its decision to buy 40 French-Italian ATR planes.

In the automotive sector, France’s Peugeot-Citroen is set to sign contracts with Iran Khodro and Saipa, Iran’s two largest automotive manufacturers.

The French energy giant Total is also resuming its activities in Iran’s oil and gas sectors following years of a strong presence in the country.

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