France worried by Iran's 'hegemonic' intentions: FM

AFP , Thursday 16 Nov 2017

France FM
France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attends a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 16, 2017 (Photo: Reuters)

France is worried by Iran's "hegemonic" intentions in the Middle East, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday.

At a press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir, Le Drian echoed Riyadh's concerns over Iranian "intervention in regional crises" and "hegemonic" intentions in the region.

"I'm thinking specifically about Iran's ballistic programme," Le Drian added.

Le Drian focused on Lebanon and its prime minister Saad Hariri in his comments to reporters, saying the Middle Eastern country should be "protected from foreign interference".

Hariri, whose sudden resignation on November 4 while in Saudi Arabia sparked a flurry of diplomatic talks, has accepted an invitation to visit France, Le Drian said.

Beirut has accused Riyadh of "detaining" Hariri and France has been pushing for him to return home.

Lebanon is home to parties allied with both Sunni giant Saudi Arabia and its arch-rival Iran, which backs the powerful Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah.

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