Biarritz: In a dramatic move, the Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif left France after paying a surprise visit to attend the G7 Summit. This news came as a huge shock to the world leaders gathered in France including US President Donald Trump who is long at odds with the Iranians, stated a source.

The Iranian official was expected to hold fresh discussions with various European officials on the sidelines of the ongoing G7 summit, the source said on Sunday. Earlier on August 23, French President Emmanuel Macron has held a “positive” meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif tweeted on Friday, “Iran’s active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues. Met Emmanuel Macron on sidelines of G7 Biarritz after extensive talks with Jean-Yves Le Drian & Finance Min. followed by a joint briefing for UK/Germany. Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying.”

He had also tweeted: “Despite US efforts to destroy diplomacy, met with French President @EmmanuelMacron
and @JY_LeDriane in Paris today. Interviewed with Euronews, AFP, & France24. Multilateralism must be preserved. Next stops Beijing, Tokyo & KL after a day in Tehran.”

The discussion between Zarif and Macron lasted for more than hours. According to a report by Efe news, a source stated that the Germany and UK, signatories to the nuclear deal struck with Iran designed to keep it from developing nuclear weapons, have been “associated” with the meetings with Zarif. While German and British diplomats joined their conversations, there was no participation from the US representatives.

Zarif’s visit came “in coordination with the US,” said a source without providing more details about the exact time Trump was notified of the Iranian official’s visit.

The US imposed sanctions on Zarif on July 31 for being the “chief spokesman” for the Iranian regime worldwide, a move that, in practice, excluded the Iranian from any hypothetical future dialogue between Washington and Tehran.

(With agency inputs)