Waterloo Region Record

Iran’s foreign minister visits G7 meeting


BIARRITZ, FRANCE — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a surprise visit to the city hosting the G7 summit on Sunday, a move that caught U.S. President Donald Trump off-guard and added another element of tension to the meeting of world economic leaders.

Zarif’s arrival in Biarritz appeared to be a covert initiative by French President Emmanuel Macron, a European official said, and at least some leaders were not informed ahead of time.

Trump, whose antics have often left other world leaders searching for words, had little to say about the unexpected guest.

“No comment,” Trump told reporters.

Zarif came to this resort town on the invitation of his French counterpar­t, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokespers­on Abbas Mousavi wrote on Twitter. The aim of the visit was to “continue discussion­s about recent initiative­s between the presidents of Iran and France,” Mousavi said.

The Iranian diplomat was in town for about five hours before departing on his Iranian government jet. He met with Macron, Le Drian, and British and German diplomats before speeding away, a spokespers­on for the French presidency said.

White House officials have complained for weeks that Macron was trying to forcefully broker talks between the Trump administra­tion and Iran. The U.S. president has branded Iran a “No. 1 terrorist nation.”

Trump pulled the U.S. from the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May 2018. It restricted Iran’s nuclear capabiliti­es in exchange for the easing of sanctions.

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