FM spox: France’ Macron to visit Iran by year-end

MNA – FM Spokesman Ghasemi said Mon. that French President Emanuel Macron will visit Iran by the end of 2017 to bridge the gap between the two sides’ positions on Iran’s missile program, among other objectives of his visit.

Bahram Ghasemi made the remarks in his weekly press conference on Monday, saying “the visit of French President Emanuel Macron is on the agenda of both sides, but the exact date has not yet been determined.”

Ghasemi further noted the upcoming of visit of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to Iran by the year-end, adding that Macron’s visit will most likely take place after Johnson’s trip.

The Iranian diplomat touched upon the remarks made by President Macron about Iran’s missile capabilities, saying “Macron’s position on Iran’s missile program was not accurate and we would like to ask for more consideration in taking such positions. His visit can prove helpful in lessening differences between the two countries on this issue.”

Macron, during a visit to Dubai on Thursday, said he was “very concerned” by Iran’s missile program, and called for talks on the issue. Iran has repeatedly stated that its defense affairs are not negotiable, and unrelated to the landmark nuclear deal signed back in 2015.

Ghasemi also maintained that the date for the visit of Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, has been almost set, saying “I think the visit will take place in a few weeks.

Talking about the “sudden” and “suspicious” resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Iranian diplomat said “given Mr. Hariri’s remarks last night, we are hoping that he will return to Lebanon soon and announce the legal procedure of his resignation from his own country.”

Ghasemi was referring to Hariri’s interview with the Lebanese TV channel Future TV on Sunday, during which he claimed he is not being held captive in Saudi Arabia and will be returning to his country in the next few days.

Ghasemi went on to add, “we support any move aimed at restoring stability and security to Lebanon. Hariri’s remarks last night can be a shimmer of hope, although his resignation while in another country and his failure to return home was a strange and unprecedented move.”

To a question about the presence of a high-ranking EU delegation in Iran and the topic on the reopening of EU’s office here, Ghasemi dismissed the possibility of any links between the two cases, saying that the reopening of the EU’s office is still on agenda and will be announced to the public once a domestic consensus has been reached on it and initial preparations have been made.