April 26 (UPI) — French President Emmanuel Macron said it’s his feeling President Donald Trump will withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal — describing constant U.S. policy changes as “insane.”
Macron made the prediction following the third day of an official state visit to Washington, during which the two leaders touted a great relationship between the United States and France.
“My view — I don’t know what your president will decide — is that he will get rid of this deal on his own, for domestic reasons,” he told reporters before leaving Wednesday, adding it would be a “big risk” and “very insane in the medium to long-term” to pull out of the accord.
The remarks from Macron, a proponent of the Obama-era agreement, might indicate he failed to convince Trump to stick with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Trump has given Congress until May 12 to fix what he views as deficiencies in the deal.
Like Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Washington this week to discuss the 2015 pact. A U.S. withdrawal could deal a blow to other nations who helped broker the historic agreement in 2015.
Macron’s comments came after Trump appeared willing to add, or change, parts of the deal rather than scrap it altogether.
Trump has been a relentless critic of the Iran agreement, calling the deal “terrible” and accusing Iran of violating terms of the deal. However, officials say Iran has complied with the terms.
Under the terms of the deal, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stash of low-enriched uranium and reduce its number of gas centrifuges. Some of the restrictions on Iran are scheduled to be lifted after 10 and 15 years.
Experts believe Trump refusing to waive sanctions on the May 12 deadline is unlikely to ruin the deal. A potentially more important deadline, July 11, could be when Trump decides to reimpose a greater amount of sanctions against Tehran.
“The May 12 waiver deadline may come and go without any immediate impact on sanctions or the deal, but the July deadline may matter an awful lot more,” David Mortlock, a sanctions lawyer who worked on Iran-related issues under Obama, told Politico. “In July, we could see broad sanctions come roaring back effective immediately, with significant impact on global trade with Iran.”
Others believe Trump might be more inclined to keep the Iran deal to preserve U.S. credibility at the negotiating table as it seeks denuclearization in another hot zone — North Korea.
“I think the United States doesn’t want to send the message to the world that if you negotiate with the United States, the U.S. is going to come back after you had reached an agreement and tell you ‘I don’t like these parts of the agreement and I want them re-negotiated,’” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said.
Iran has warned of “grave consequences” if the United States pulls out of the deal, saying Tehran has held up its end of the accord.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani questioned why Trump felt he was allowed to change a deal signed by multiple nations on his own.
“You, along with the leader of some European country, are deciding for an agreement reached among seven parties. Who allowed you to do that?” Rouhani said of Trump.
European powers, along with Russia and China, have publicly stood behind the deal.