Laurent Fabius pays productive visit to Iran
Iran – Preliminary remarks by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, at his press conference (excerpts)
Tehran, 29 July 2015
I’m delighted to be here. Thank you for coming, anyway. This visit to Tehran has been productive. As you know, it’s the first bilateral visit to Iran by a foreign minister in 17 years. I believe that M. Villepin came in 2003, but it was in another context with two other foreign ministers. But in terms of an actual bilateral visit, an official visit, it’s been 17 years.
So obviously this was a long-awaited visit on both sides. It was made possible by the agreement we reached, the Vienna agreement, the 14 July agreement, which is very important – historic, even – and is still to be examined by US Congress and the Iranian Parliament. (…)
We talked about the regional situation, because it’s an issue which concerns us all and one on which there can also be differences in approach between Iran and France, so we exchanged our points of view.
We of course talked about our political exchanges and decided that each year there would be a meeting, prepared by meetings of our staff, between the two foreign ministers to take stock of our political cooperation.
And then – I’m going to come to this in a moment – we talked about the visit President Hollande has invited the Iranian President to pay.
And then, of course, I also raised – as I do whenever necessary – the issue of human rights.
I was also welcomed by President Rouhani, the Iranian President, whom I had had the opportunity to meet, since I was at President Hollande’s side when he saw President Rouhani on a couple of occasions. So I handed a letter to him from François Hollande, and an invitation to go to France in the middle of November. We hope he’ll be able to go. We talked in particular about political and economic cooperation, which was an important topic throughout today. (…)
I then met several important ministers (…): first, a meeting with the Petroleum Minister, who is a very experienced man, and we talked about opportunities to work together, and a company such as Total is highly valued here – I had the opportunity to confirm this – as is the French Institute of Petroleum. And there’s a great deal of work to be done together in this area and in green technology, new technology.
Then I had a meeting with the Vice-President, who is also the Environment Minister – whom, incidentally, I’ve welcomed before to Paris. She is someone who knows her subjects very well and we talked chiefly about COP21, since, as you know, I’m going to be chairing this extremely important conference at the end of the year. I invited her to come to France at the beginning of September, because I’m calling a meeting of 50 or so ministers, environment ministers, from all over the world to make headway on the preparation of COP21. I had this type of meeting a few days ago on COP21’s ambition and the subject of differentiation, and at this one we’re going to talk about finance and technology. These are words with a very clear meaning in the COP21 framework, and I hope the Minister will be able to join us. (…)
We have an important MEDEF [French business confederation] delegation, which is going to come in September. I’ve asked M. Le Foll, the French Agriculture Minister, and M. Fekl, Minister of State for [Foreign] Trade, to accompany the delegation, and that’s what they’ll do. And I’m sure it will be very favourably received. (…)
And then I informed my interlocutors that we were going to change how the map is drawn for Iran to encourage tourism in both directions, so that a greater number of Iranian tourists can come to France and that French tourists come to this country. (…)
I think you’ve seen that the Iranian government did everything that was necessary for this visit to go very smoothly, which it did. And so I’ll report back to President Hollande and the Prime Minister on all this at the Council of Ministers, which is taking place on Friday. But I think the way we’ve proceeded, on both sides, is absolutely in line with what we wanted to do. (…)./.