PARIS (AP) — President-elect Francois Hollande’s transition team says a visit by a former French prime minister to Iran is “totally private” despite its portrayal in the Iranian media as a diplomatic mission.

Hollande takes office Tuesday. A member of his team denied Sunday the Socialist had sent Michel Rocard to visit Tehran. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing policy.

Under Nicolas Sarkozy, France took a tough line on Iran, which the West suspects is seeking a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the accusation.

Hollande, who has little foreign policy experience, has said he will stick to those firm policies, which include internationally backed sanctions. But he came under criticism Sunday from political opponents after Iran’s official news agency reported that Rocard met with the country’s top nuclear negotiator.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.