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EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday to discuss ways of reducing tensions in the Middle East.

The two sides also exchanged views on Rouhani's peace initiative for the region dubbed "Hope" (Hormuz Peace Endeavor), as well as bilateral ties and ways of saving the 2015 nuclear deal, the Iranian presidential website reported. 

The peace plan, which Rouhani is set to unveil during his Wednesday address to the UN General Assembly invites all Persian Gulf states as well as the United Nations to work together to guarantee security in the region, Reuters reported. 

"We will submit an initiative to the United Nations, which ensures that Iran will be protecting the security of the region, including in the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz, in cooperation with regional countries," he had said a few days earlier, according to Financial Tribune.

During the two presidents’ talk, which lasted more than 90 minutes, Macron welcomed Iran's peace plan, adding that it was urgent to start a discussion on a security agenda for the region.

"The president said that in the current situation, the path of de-escalation was narrow, but more necessary than ever, and that the time had come for Iran to take it," Macron's office said in a short statement.

The Persian Gulf region has been experiencing heightened tensions since May, following several attacks on international oil tankers. 

The situation further escalated after an attack on Saudi Arabia's oil installations last week, which the US blamed on Iran, although the Yemeni Houthi fighters claimed responsibility. Tehran has denied any involvement in the incident. 

France, Britain and Germany backed the US allegation on Monday in a joint statement issued by Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel after a meeting on the sidelines of the annual UN gathering. 

In his meeting with Macron, Rouhani severely censured the statement, describing it as "baseless allegations against the Islamic Republic of Iran", reported.



Efforts to Save Nuclear Deal 

The French president later elaborated on Paris's efforts to ensure the full implementation of the fraying nuclear deal.  

European parties have been attempting to keep the deal alive since the United States pulled out of it last year and restored the lifted sanctions against Tehran. 

Macron has especially been trying to broker dialogue between Rouhani and his American counterpart, Donald Trump, during the UN event.

He had a brief meeting with Trump before his session with Rouhani and was set to meet him again afterwards, according to media reports. 

Iranian officials have refused to enter any conversation with Trump so far as the sanctions are in place.  

Trump also said on Monday he had no meetings scheduled this week with Rouhani, but would not rule out meeting him in New York.

He emphasized, however, that he needed no mediator for the talks. 

"He's [Macron] a friend of mine, but we're not looking for any mediators. They know who to call."


Iran Hassan Rouhani France Rouhani Middle East United Nations Emmanuel Macron UNGA General Assembly Macron tensions New York Deescalate