French Environment Minister Segolene Royal met with her Iranian counterpart in Tehran on Sunday to announce plans for a number of joint projects addressing energy, water shortages and pollution.

Royal held talks with the head of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization, Massoumeh Ebtekar, and said they would build several key partnerships by February.

“Several highly operational subjects were discussed,” Royal told reporters.

The French minister is traveling for three days with senior business figures from environmental and renewable energy firms specializing in water, pollution and energy efficiency — including the boss of multinational Engie.

“They were chosen by Iran on the basis of the challenges they face,” said Royal.

“Since we face the same type of challenges in France, this is a terrific opportunity for cooperation.”

Royal said she would return in February to discuss progress on the partnerships.

Ebtekar, who is also a vice-president of Iran, said the visit “shows the important international cooperation on the environment, and sends a strong message to the global community that countries can cooperate strongly on their shared interests and issues in the field of environment.”

Royal, who was wearing the headscarf that is obligatory in Iran, appeared reluctant to take too many questions from journalists in the wake of the recent uproar over the banning of burkini swimsuits in France.

On Monday, she is due to visit Iran’s largest saltwater lake, Orumiyeh in northwestern Iran, a UNESCO heritage site that has lost 90 percent of its surface water in the past two decades as a result of over-farming, dams and climate changes.

Agence France Presse