Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Trump, Macron open door to new multilateral nuclear pact with Iran

Washington, Apr 24 (EFE).- French President Emmanuel Macron said here Tuesday that he is ready to work on a “new deal with Iran” to broaden the scope of the 2015 nuclear pact and his US host and counterpart, Donald Trump, said he was open to that possibility but did not rule out withdrawing from the original agreement.

“For a number of months, I’ve been saying that this was not a sufficient deal, but that it enabled us, at least until 2025, to have some control over their nuclear activities,” Macron said at the White House in a joint press conference with Trump. “We therefore … want to work on a new deal with Iran.”

Later, the French leader said in response to a reporter’s question that the 2015 agreement “is the first pillar of the framework I’ve just described. I’m not saying we’re moving from one deal to another. I’m saying it’s one aspect of the problem.”

Trump appeared to be less enthusiastic about such a measure and said that any new agreement would have to be built on “solid foundations.”

The US president has consistently bashed the pact designed to rein in Iran’s nuclear program, calling it “insane” and “ridiculous,” despite pleas from Washington’s European allies not to withdraw from the agreement.

Trump has said he wants some kind of “grand bargain” to limit Iran’s ballistic missile program as well as Tehran’s backing of militant groups around the Middle East.

“(The pact’s Western negotiators) should have made a deal that covered Yemen, that covered Syria, that covered other parts of the Middle East,” said Trump, adding “No matter where you go in the Middle East, you see the fingerprints of Iran behind problems.”

US President Donald J. Trump (R) and French President Emmanuel Macron (L) at the end of a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 24 April 2018. President Macron will be in DC for three days for a state visit at the White House and an address to a joint session of Congress on 25 April. EFE

The French president, meanwhile, said that the new pact he is proposing with Tehran could cover “ballistic missiles” and the 2025 expiration of certain restrictions imposed on Iran’s nuclear program under the 2015 pact to ensure that it does not engage in nuclear activity over the longer term.

It would also create the conditions for a “political solution” to contain Iran in the region and its activities in “Syria and Yemen,” Macron said.

Macron emphasized that the parties to the 2015 pact should not break the agreement without having anything to fall back on but rather build a new and broader pact that would resolve joint concerns.

He said that the mistakes of the past should not be repeated and that France respects the Iranian people but is not naive with regard to Tehran.

Macron, with his remarks and proposal, was trying to bypass Trump’s ultimatum delivered earlier this year for the European signatories to the 2015 pact – France, the UK and Germany – to negotiate with him a parallel agreement prior to May 12 to correct the “defects” of the original accord.

Trump warned that it is still possible he will announce Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal on May 12, the deadline established by Congress for the White House to inform lawmakers about compliance with the multilateral agreement.

Iran has said that it will accelerate nuclear enrichment activities if Trump cancels the accord, to which the US president responded “They’re not going to be restarting anything. If they restart it, they’re going to have big problems, bigger than they ever had before. And you can mark it down.”