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24 Apr, 2018 17:08

France wants to work with US on new nuclear deal with Iran - Macron

France wants to work with US on new nuclear deal with Iran - Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he believes discussions with US President Donald Trump have made it possible to forge a new agreement on Iran.

Macron made the comment during a press conference at the White House on Tuesday.

The French leader said he was aware that Trump considers it a “bad deal” and that he is willing to take on board the US president’s concerns and criticisms as they work toward a “new” deal.

Macron said the two leaders had had a “very frank discussion” on Iran and that the nuclear issue was not the only topic concerning Iran, but that the country's ballistic missile program posed another threat. In February, Macron said Iran’s ballistic missile program must be put under international surveillance.

The French president said he believed the Iran deal, as it stands, should not be torn apart, but that a new deal should be made that would also curb Iran’s ballistic program and contain its influence in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. The proposed deal will be aimed at ensuring that there will be no Iranian nuclear activity “in the long run,” Macron said.

While the 2015 agreement will stay intact, it will become only the first pillar of the four envisaged by Macron for the post-2025 period, after the JCPOA expires.

It was a surprising new pitch from Macron, who was expected to use his visit to Washington to merely push Trump into remaining in the Iran deal.

“It's not a mystery we did not have the same starting position,” Macron told Trump. “Neither you nor I have a habit of changing our stances or going with the wind.”

The deal limits Iran’s nuclear program in return for economic sanctions relief. Trump has said the deal “was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into."

Macron had previously said that ending the Iran deal would be a “grave error” and that it was “essential to peace at a time where the risk of an infernal conflagration cannot be excluded.”

Answering a question from a reporter, Macron said it was true he and Trump “had a disagreement” on Iran, but said he is willing to work on “overcoming it.”

Macron maintained he had “always been consistent” on the Iran deal and that he was “not saying we’re moving from one deal to another, just that we need to add to it.”

But before his trip to Washington, Macron had been more adamant in his support for the deal."What is Plan B? I don't have any Plan B for nuclear against Iran," he said.

Macron has recently been cozying up to Trump, touting his “very special relationship” with the American leader during an interview with Fox News on Sunday.

During his visit to France last year, Macron took Trump to watch a military parade in Paris and dined with him at the iconic Eiffel Tower restaurant.

The French leader lent his support to Trump two weeks ago by joining the US and Britain for new airstrikes on Syria, which Trump ordered in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government. Macron’s decision was unpopular in France and was criticized by both the left and right.