September 24, 2019 / 4:16 AM / 2 months ago

Time for Iran to take steps to defuse tensions - Macron

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during their meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 23, 2019. REUTERS/John Irish/File Photo

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The path to reduce tensions in the region has become smaller and the moment has come for Iran to help defuse the crisis, France’s president told his Iranian counterpart on Monday, his office said in a statement.

Emmanuel Macron and Hassan Rouhani talked for more than 90 minutes shortly after Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel laid the blame for a Sept. 14 attack on Saudi oil facilities squarely on Iran.

“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 the short statement, adding that it was urgent to start a discussion on a security agenda for the region.

Neither Macron nor Rouhani took questions after their meeting.

Iranian U.N. mission spokesman Alireza Miryousefi posted on Twitter: “Two sides discussed ways to save the #IranDeal, bilateral relations, and President Rouhani’s new initiative for the region: ‘HOPE.’”

Macron is scheduled to hold talks with U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday to discuss Iran.

Reporting by John Irish and Michelle Nichols; Editing by Gerry Doyle

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