BIARRITZ, France – A top Iranian official crashed the G-7 meeting of world leaders in France on Sunday, a dramatic and unexpected move that seemed likely to highlight U.S. isolation on its handling of Tehran.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman said the Islamic Republic's top diplomat, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, had landed in France, according to Iranian state media.
The move came as tensions between the U.S. and Iran are running high. Both countries claimed to shoot down each other's drones in recent weeks. The U.S. and its allies have condemned Iran’s seizure of foreign ships traveling through the Strait of Hormuz.
The spokesman’s statement indicated that Zarif would be meeting with other world leaders gathered at the G-7 and specifically mentioned he would not be talking with President Donald Trump or other members of the U.S. delegation.
Other members of the G-7 , including host country France, are seeking to salvage the 2015 nuclear agreement signed by President Barack Obama. Honoring a campaign pledge, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement last year. Though he touts that move on the campaign trail, Trump’s decision represented a major break with other U.S. allies.
Asked to confirm whether Zarif was coming to Biarritz and if he’d be meeting with him, Trump responded curtly: “No comment.”
A senior French official told the Associated Press that France invited Zarif to ease tensions over its nuclear program. Asked whether the White House was aware of the decision, the French official told the Associated Press that “we operate on our own terms.”
Late Sunday, Zarif tweeted photos of himself meeting with Macron on the sidelines of the G-7.
"Iran's active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues," he wrote. "Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying."
Iran's active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) August 25, 2019
Met @EmmanuelMacron on sidelines of #G7Biarritz after extensive talks with @JY_LeDrian & Finance Min. followed by a joint briefing for UK/Germany.
Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying. pic.twitter.com/oXdACvt20T
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Iranian Mohammad Zarif crashes G7, won't meet with Trump