Zarif Makes Unexpected Arrival At G7: Iran Oil Waiver Resumption In The Works?

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Though he had been due in Asia for a scheduled tour to bolster support for relief from US sanctions, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s plane made a surprise landing in Biarritz on Sunday, where the Group of Seven (G7) summit is in session. 

Amid speculation over the plane’s unscheduled return to France, Iran’s foreign ministry has now confirmed FM Zarif has arrived in Biarritz for talks at the French foreign ministry’s invitation. However, “There won’t be any meeting or talks with the American delegation,” the statement said

The Iranian delegation plans to hold meetings on the sideline of the G7 summit, western diplomatic sources have also said. French President Emmanuel Macron will reportedly be involved in the sideline meetings, after he told reporters at the summit he plans to continue holding talks with Tehran in the coming weeks over Iran’s nuclear program. Reports suggest Macron could press Trump for a resumption of the Iran oil waiver program

Image source: Reuters

He and Zarif discussed moving forward just days ago in Paris. It also must be remembered that Zarif is currently under US Treasury department sanctions, and further it was recently revealed that last month Zarif had rebuffed a secret invitation to meet with President Trump in the oval office, which involved the mediation of Rand Paul. 

Currently, there’s speculation over the possibility of Zarif or Iranian intermediaries engaging with US officials or even Trump himself on the sidelines of the summit. On Sunday Trump was asked about these rumors point blank, to which he responded, “no comment”

Meanwhile, Zarif’s unexpected presence could be part of a French initiative to press Washington for the resumption of the oil waiver program, which had allowed up to eight countries to continue importing Iranian crude on a conditional basis.

Macron said on Sunday just as Zarif’s plane touched down that G7 leaders “had a discussion yesterday on Iran and that enabled us to establish two common lines: no member of the G7 wants Iran to get a nuclear bomb and all the members of the G7 are deeply attached to stability and peace in the region,” he said.

As regional tensions again begin to soar over Israel’s renewed spate of attacks on Syria, and now it appears unprecedented attacks on Iraq and now Lebanon, will France and Iran make a last minute effort to press Washington toward stabilizing the situation and find common ground? 


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