Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has rounded off a four-day European tour in Paris – the the first visit to France by an Iranian president in 17 years.
Cabinet members and business leaders from both countries signed bilateral agreements in several sectors, including banking, exports, health and the environment.
Rouhani and his French counterpart, François Hollande, agreed to cooperate on the fight against terrorism and to work together to resolve conflicts and crises the world over.
The trip came a matter of weeks after a landmark accord was reached between Tehran and six world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear activity.
Hollande stressed the need to rigourously apply the nuclear accord. Rouhani agreed, but said all sides must meet their commitments.
Syria was among the crises discussed. Rouhani stressed that defeating terrorism is more important than who is running the country.
“The Syrian people must make their own decisions regarding their country,” he said. “It’s clear that some Syrians can stand for election and be elected and these people must be agreed on by the voting population. Today the problem in Syria is not caused by the people, but rather terrorism. ISIL is the problem.”
Both agreed that diplomacy, reason and negotiation were key to achieving their goals. These are all factors that will surely be needed in Geneva on Friday (January 29), when talks on peace in Syria are due to take place between representatives of President Bashar al Assad’s regime and members of the opposition.