Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif unexpectedly landed in Biarritz, France, on Sunday, the city hosting this year’s Group of Seven summit. His surprise arrival reportedly blindsided the White House, as President Trump and other world leaders are meeting in the coastal French town over the weekend. Zarif’s presence was at the behest of French President Emanuel Macron, who has been working to de-escalate the crisis between the U.S. and Iran. The French government, however, stated that Zarif’s invitation was purely to meet with the French Foreign Minister.
Out of character, Trump did not offer a comment when reporters asked if he had prior notice of Zarif’s presence, and it is still unclear whether the two will meet during the summit. Trump has increased tensions between the West and Iran, and is pursuing what the White House dubbed a “maximum pressure” policy against the country. Last month, the president issued sanctions specifically against Zarif. In response to the sanctions, Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said the foreign minister “spreads the regime’s propaganda and disinformation around the world.”