Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Hollande's industrial policy under scrutiny during Florange visit

Read more

FOCUS

The growing frustration of Tunisia's jobless graduates

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Monica Macovei, Former Romanian justice minister

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Luxleaks: Will Europe crack down on tax evasion?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dacian Ciolos, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development

Read more

ENCORE!

Music Show: Beyoncé, David Guetta, Eminem and Iggy Azalea

Read more

#THE 51%

Ending violence against women: The dangers of trial by Twitter

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Violent repression in Bahrain and Rio favelas that regret gang rule

Read more

ENCORE!

Michel Hazanavicius on life after 'The Artist'

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)