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Iran Accuses France Of Stoking Mideast Crises; Hariri Heads To Paris


French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (left) meets with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the latter's residence in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on November 16.

Iran has criticized French policy in the Middle East, saying it is stoking regional crises because Paris is “biased and partisan."

The criticism on November 17 from Iran’s Foreign Ministry came a day after French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused Tehran of “hegemonic” ambitions in the Middle East.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi said “it seems that France has a biased and partisan approach to the crises in the region and this approach, whether intentionally or not, is even contributing to turning potential crises into real ones.”

Le Drian made his remarks in Saudi Arabia during a visit aimed at resolving a crisis sparked by the shock announcement by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on November 4 that he plans to resign.

Hariri made his announcement in a statement broadcast from Saudi Arabia.

In Beirut, a member of parliament for Hariri’s Future Movement said that Hariri planned to leave Saudi Arabia on November 17 to travel to Paris.

Parliamentary deputy Okab Saqr said Hariri planned to have “a family meeting” with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on November 18.

But Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gebran Gerge Bassil said in Moscow on November 17 that he expected Hariri to return to Beirut later on November 17 after visiting Paris.

Bassil said Hariri needs to be in Lebanon to decide whether he should go ahead with his decision to resign.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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