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Iranian foreign minister arrives in G7 summit town in France: Iran official

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attends a joint news conference after meeting with Norway's Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide in Oslo, Norway, August 22, 2019. NTB Scanpix/Stian Lysberg Solum/ via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NORWAY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN NORWAY.

BIARRITZ, France (Reuters) - Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived on Sunday in Biarritz, southwestern France, where leaders of the G7 group of nations are meeting, an Iranian official said.

Flight tracking website showed an Iranian government jet landed at Biarritz’s airport, which has been closed for the duration of the summit from Saturday to Monday.

Iranian state television cited the foreign ministry as saying Zarif would not hold talks with U.S. President Donald Trump’s summit delegation.

Asked to comment on reports that Zarif had landed in Biarritz, Trump said: “No comment”.

The office of French President Emmanuel Macron, who is hosting the G7 summit, declined to comment as did the French foreign ministry.

European leaders have struggled to calm a deepening confrontation between Iran and the United States since Trump pulled his country out of Iran’s internationally brokered 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the Iranian economy.

Earlier on Sunday at the G7 summit, Trump appeared to brush aside French efforts to mediate with Iran, saying that while he was happy for Paris to reach out to Tehran to defuse tensions he would carry on with his own initiatives.

France said G7 leaders had agreed that Macron should hold talks and pass on messages to Iran. However, Trump, who has pushed a maximum pressure policy on Iran, distanced himself from the proposal, saying he had not even discussed it.

Reporting by Richard Lough and John Irisj; Writing by John Chalmers; Editing by Toby Chopra