France’s Macron Acknowledges Iran Nuclear Deal ‘Not Enough’

TOPSHOT - Former French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a press conference to announce his candidacy for next year's presidential election on November 16, 2016 in Bobigny, near Paris. / AFP / PHILIPPE LOPEZ (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

After defending the Iran nuclear deal as a “good agreement,” French President Emmanuel Macron conceded to reporters that in fact the deal is an insufficient safeguard against the growing power of Tehran.

“We need the 2015 accord,” he said of the Iran deal. “Is this accord enough? It is not, given the growing pressure that Iran is applying in the region.”

Mr. Macron recommended adding “two or three pillars” to the present accord, noting that these measures should include “one to better control ballistic missiles and ballistic activities” and another to prolong the agreement beyond 2025, when limits on Iran’s nuclear enrichment will start to expire.

A possible third pillar would involve “open discussions with Iran about the current situation in the region.”
Mr. Macron’s words in Wednesday’s press briefing seemed to soften his earlier defense of the treaty.

Speaking before the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations in New York Tuesday, Mr. Macron reacted to President Donald Trump’s sharp criticism of the Iran accord by calling it a “strong, robust agreement” and one which is “essential to keeping peace.”

Mr. Trump pulled no punches in describing the Iranian government as a “reckless regime” that “masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy.”

“We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program,” the U.S. President said to general applause. “The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into” and constitutes “an embarrassment to the United States.”

In Macron’s own speech to the U.N., which members of his entourage say he modified after hearing Trump’s address, the French President said that withdrawal from the Iran accord would be a “big mistake.”

“Our commitment to non-proliferation has resulted in a strong, robust agreement to verify that Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons,” Macron countered. “Denouncing it would be a big mistake, not respecting it would be irresponsible—because it is a good agreement that is essential to keeping peace at an hour where the risk of a hellish spiral can’t be discounted.”

On Wednesday, however, Mr. Macron told reporters that Iran’s “increased ballistic activity” must be truncated and he recognized the need to reassure “states in the region, and the United States.”

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