No G7 ‘mandate’ for Iran talks but discussions to continue — Macron




French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday denied that the G7 had given him a “mandate” to hold talks with Iran on behalf of the elite group of the world’s top democratic economies.

“The G7 is an informal club, there’s no such thing as a formal mandate that somebody gives someone else in the G7,” he said.

Instead, Macron said that he would be pursuing discussions with the Islamic Republic “in the name of France but … in light of yesterday’s discussions” at the summit of Western powers and Japan.

French diplomatic officials had earlier said that G7 leaders authorised Macron to hold dialogue with Iran to reduce tensions, but U.S. President Donald Trump immediately threw cold water on the idea.

Tensions have ratcheted up in the Gulf in recent months as the U.S. pursues a “maximum pressure” strategy involving crippling sanctions on Iran, which has included an attempt to prevent an Iranian oil tanker from passing through the Mediterranean Sea.

The vessel, known as the Adrian Darya 1 and formerly as the Grace 1, was held for several weeks in Gibraltar over suspicions it was carrying Iranian oil to war-torn Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

The ship is heading in the direction of the eastern Mediterranean, according to a maritime tracking website.

Greece and Turkey had been earlier registered as destination ports but then later withdrawn.

The Iranian navy said Sunday that it was prepared to escort the ship on its return to Iran if the leadership declared it necessary. (dpa/NAN)