Saturday May 12, 201207:23 AM GMT
Former French socialist prime minister in Tehran on unofficial visit
France
France's socialist former Prime Minister Michel Rocard
Sat May 12, 2012 7:22AM
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France's socialist former Prime Minister Michel Rocard is on an unofficial visit to Iran, in a move reportedly aimed at helping mend the Tehran-Paris ties strained during the tenure of the outgoing French government.


Rocard, whose 3-day trip to Iran has not been coordinated by the French foreign ministry, arrived in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Saturday to meet with a number of Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.

According to the French daily Le Figaro, the visit is aimed at "boosting relations" between Paris and Tehran, which were seriously strained under the term of outgoing French President Nikolas Sarkozy in office.

"We hope his visit will facilitate fresh contacts between the next French government and Iran," said Michel Dubois, an aide who accompanies Rocard during his trip.

It is still unclear if the former French premier will deliver a message from France’s president-elect Francois Hollande to Iranian officials.

On Sunday, Hollande was elected in the French run-off presidential election to become the first Socialist politician to win the presidential election after 17 years of right-wing dominance over the country’s politics.

The socialists’ rise to the Elysee Palace comes as France, under Sarkozy, has been one of the major US allies to spearhead baseless allegations against Iran's nuclear energy program and advocate tough economic sanctions against Tehran.

ASH/HJL/MA
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