Naharnet

Sources: Iran Not Ready to Resolve Baabda Crisis despite French Pressure

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has urged his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif to exert efforts to end Lebanon's presidential crisis, informed sources said.

The Iranian sources told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat published on Thursday that Fabius told Zarif about the importance of contacting Lebanese parties that are allied with Iran to urge them to find a solution to the deadlock.

But according to the sources, Zarif said it was not up to the Iranian foreign ministry to interfere in the issue, urging Fabius to discuss the matter with President Hassan Rouhani.

When the French official brought up the issue during his talks with Rouhani, the Iranian leader distanced himself from the matter, bringing up subjects such as the nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers earlier this month, the sources told al-Hayat.

The Iranian officials hinted to Fabius that Tehran is not yet ready to use its influence in the region to interfere in Lebanon's presidential crisis as long as the nuclear deal is still in its implementation stage, the newspaper quoted French sources as saying.

Baabda Palace has been vacant since President Michel Suleiman's six-year tenure ended in May last year.

France sought Wednesday to relaunch diplomatic ties with Iran in the hope of boosting business in the country, following the key nuclear deal.

Fabius called his one-day visit to Iran "an important trip" and tried to soften tensions created by France's hard line on the nuclear issue.

The July 14 deal between Iran and six world powers — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — is meant to curb Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions.

G.K.

D.A.


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