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France’s Macron pessimistic about future of Iran nuclear pact

French President Emmanuel Macron says his US counterpart Donald Trump may seek to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal
AFP

Washington (AFP) – Donald Trump may well pull out of the Iran nuclear deal for domestic political reasons, French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday, after he and his American counterpart held talks addressing the agreement’s future.

Near the end of his three-day state visit, Macron told US media that while he did not know specifically what Trump will decide, he believes the US leader “will get rid of this deal on his own, for domestic reasons.” 

Trump — a fierce opponent of the July 2015 agreement signed by Tehran and international powers — must declare by May 12 if he will essentially walk away from the existing deal when the renewal deadline arrives on May 12, or stay in.

Macron had come to Washington in part to plead for a more comprehensive “new agreement” that would address what he and Trump believe to be shortcomings of the existing accord.

Trump has branded the Iran deal “insane” and the “worst” in history.

“I have no inside information” on what decision Trump will make on the agreement, Macron told journalists. 

But “I listen to what President Trump is saying and it seems to me that he is not very eager to defend it.”

Macron recalled that Trump made killing the Iran nuclear accord a campaign pledge during his 2016 presidential run.

“The rational analysis of all his statements does not make me think that he will do everything to maintain” the agreement signed with Iran to prevent the Islamic republic from acquiring an atomic bomb.

Asked whether such a decision would signify a personal failure for him, Macron stressed that his role “is not to try to convince President Trump to walk away from his campaign commitments.”

Instead he offered further defense of the deal, saying “I’m trying to prove that this agreement makes sense.”

The proposal that Macron put forward to his US counterpart involves preserving the existing agreement on the first of “four pillars” of a future deal. 

The others would address the period after 2025, when certain clauses concerning nuclear activities will sunset; Tehran’s highly controversial ballistic missile program; and its “destabilizing” role in the region. 

“For me it’s progress, it avoids falling into the complete unknown if the US decision is a hard exit,” said Macron, who confirmed that the proposal was a strategy coordinated with European partners and not a unilateral one. 

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