Iran's Rouhani cancels visit to Italy and France over Paris attacks

Reuters , Saturday 14 Nov 2015

Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (Photo: AP)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday cancelled a visit to Italy and France following deadly attacks in Paris, while the foreign minister decided to attend Vienna talks on Syria to address threats of extremism.

Gunmen and bombers attacked restaurants, a concert hall and a sports stadium at locations across Paris on Friday, killing at least 120 people in a deadly rampage that a shaken President Francois Hollande called an unprecedented terrorist attack.

"Due to the terrorist incidents in Paris and in coordination with the hosts, the Iranian president postponed his visit to Italy, Vatican and France to a more convenient time," Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told state television, according to state news agency IRNA.

Zarif, who had been due to accompany Rouhani on his European tour, left Tehran for Vienna on Saturday morning.

World and regional powers meet in Vienna on Saturday in a bid to step up diplomatic efforts to the end the four-year-old conflict.

"We are hopeful that in negotiation with other foreign ministers we can find ways to fight against Islamic State and extremism threats and stop incidents like this," Zarif added.

Zarif said the Paris attacks showed the threat of extremism was not limited to the Middle East, so the fight against it should not be limited to the region either.

In a statement carried by IRNA, Rouhani condemned the Paris attacks as an "inhumane crime".

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