Emmanuel Macron meets Iran Finance Minister to push for G7 detente

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron was to hold talks Friday with Iran's foreign minister ahead of a G7 meeting where he will attempt to soothe tensions between Tehran and Washington at what risks being a stormy summit.

"We're at a critical moment," Macron warned on Wednesday, acknowledging that Iran is "laying out a strategy for exiting the JCPOA," the name of the 2015 accord reining in the country's nuclear ambitions. He admitted this week there were "true disagreements" over Iran within the G7 club of rich nations, which are meeting in France this weekend. But Macron said he would "try to propose things" in the talks with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Friday.

Tensions have soared in recent months over Iran's disputed nuclear programme, with both Tehran and Washington claiming to have shot down rival drones in the Mideast. Iran has also locked horns with Britain, with Iran's Revolutionary Guards seizing a British tanker in July after Britain detained an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar.

France has stepped up its outreach to Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, with Macron twice dispatching his diplomatic advisor Emmanuel Bonne to Tehran in recent months."President Rouhani instructed me to go and meet with President Macron (to see) whether we can finalise some of these proposals in order to be able to have everybody comply with their obligations under the JCPOA," Zarif said in Norway on Thursday. "It's an opportunity to review the proposal by President Macron and to present the views of President Rouhani and see if we can find more common ground. We already have some common ground."

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