UNITED NATIONS, United States: French President Francois Hollande urged Iran Tuesday to make "concrete gestures" on its disputed nuclear program as he met Tehran's new leader.
"France expects Iran to make concrete gestures to show that it renounces its military nuclear program, even if it has a right to a civilian program," Hollande told the UN General Assembly.
Hollande met later Tuesday with new Iranian President Hassan Rowhani, a reputed moderate who has called for better relations with the West.
The two leaders smiled for the cameras and shook hands before entering closed-door talks at France's United Nations mission.
"The question at hand is to know if these words can translate into actions, especially on the nuclear issue," Hollande said at the General Assembly.
"For the past 10 years talks haven't gone anywhere," he added.
Rowhani is paying a closely watched visit to the United Nations, three months after elections that swept him to power.
The visit raised the possibility of a historic interaction between Rowhani and US President Barack Obama, but the White House said the meeting was too complicated to arrange.
France, unlike the United States, has diplomatic relations with Iran, although it has also pressed Tehran over its nuclear program.
"I accepted dialogue with President Rowhani as he himself has shown an openness," Hollande said at a news conference.
"The dialogue has to be firm because, for France, there cannot be an acceptance of nuclear proliferation," he said.
"This is an issue that isn't tied to Iran but to global security," he said.
The French president said he also hoped to talk to Rowhani about Syria, whose embattled president Bashar al-Assad counts Iran as a top ally.
Hollande reiterated that he did not oppose Rowhani's presence at a future Geneva peace conference on Syria, but said that the focus had to be on transition from the Assad regime.
"If Iran wants to participate in Geneva Two, it has to be with a goal of transition," Hollande said.