Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Trump's transgender backlash

Read more

THE DEBATE

The Battle for Venezuela: Pressure mounting on Maduro ahead of sunday's vote

Read more

ENCORE!

Actress Helen Mirren on TV honours and tackling sexism

Read more

FOCUS

Teething problems for French President Macron's party

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Libya's Haftar vows to deal with terrorists 'through weapons'

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

USA: Fierce battle over Kentucky's only abortion clinic

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Socks and selfies deep': Canadians slam Rolling Stone's Trudeau tribute

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Panda-monium! French zoo awaiting rare panda birth

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Can Facebook keep growing its earnings?

Read more

Americas

Hollande first to break the ice with Iran’s Rohani

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-25

In a potential sign that a thaw in relations between Iran and the West is possible, French President François Hollande has held an unprecedented meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rohani, during the first day of the UN General Assembly.

French President François Hollande became the first Western leader to meet newly-elected Iranian President Hassan Rohani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, in what could signal a modest thawing in relations between the Islamic Republic and the West.

Heading into the closed-door meeting, Hollande said it expected “concrete gestures” by Iran to show it will give up a military nuclear programme, echoing cautious statements by US President Barack Obama.

A French presidential source said the 40-minute meeting had been polite and courteous and centred on Iran’s nuclear programme, the crisis in Syria and neighbouring Lebanon, where Tehran has considerable influence over the armed Shiite group Hezbollah.

France has been one of the fiercest critics of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been fighting armed rebels in a bloody civil, and who counts Iran as one of its steadfast allies.

“Compared to the previous [Iranian] administration, there are signs, but the reality is that there are still hurdles and progress to be made,” the French source said of the gathering between Hollande and Rohani.

Paris said that the meeting was “a first contact that beckoned more meetings,” while Tehran said it wished “a brighter future” for relations between the two countries. A face-to-face meeting between French and Iranian heads of state has not taken place since 2005.

Obama did not meet Rohani on Tuesday, despite intense speculation over the possibility of a brief, but highly-symbolic handshake between the leaders of two countries that have been estranged for decades.

(FRANCE24 with wires)
 

Date created : 2013-09-25

  • UNITED NATIONS

    Iran poses no threat to world peace, Rohani tells UN

    Read more

  • BRAZIL

    Brazil’s Rousseff slams US for spying in UN address

    Read more

  • UNITED NATIONS

    Obama extends olive branch to Iran in UN speech

    Read more

COMMENT(S)