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France calls for calming of tensions between Riyadh and Tehran

Iranian protesters chant slogans during a demonstration against the execution of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran on Sunday.
Iranian protesters chant slogans during a demonstration against the execution of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran on Sunday. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS

France on Monday called for de-=escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran that were triggered by the execution of a Shiite cleric critical of the Saudi government.

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Government spokesman Stéphane Le Foll said that France is hoping that political solutions to the problems could be found as the situation in the region was extremely difficult. He was referring to the severed diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Tehran in a new diplomatic flare up between the two regional powers.

Speaking after the meeting of the council of ministers on Monday, Le Foll said that France has an important role in this region, as an interlocutor with all parties, noting that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would be received soon in Paris.

The new crisis between Saudi Arabia kingdom and Iran erupted on Saturday with the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr and 46 others by the Saudi authorities.

France, a close ally of Riyadh, deplored the executions and termed them deeply regrettable, while reiterating its continued opposition to the death penalty in all places and in all circumstances.

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