Macron on Iran nuclear deal: there is no ‘Plan B’

washington: French President Emmanuel Macron, who is heading to Washington to urge his US counterpart to stay in the Iran nuclear deal, said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that there is no “Plan B” if the accord is scrapped.
“I don’t have any Plan B for nuclear – against Iran,” Macron told Fox News Sunday, in an English-language interview broadcast on the eve of his three-day state visit.
“So that’s a question we will discuss, but that’s why I just want to say, on nuclear – let’s present this framework because it’s better than the sort of North Korean type of situation,”
North Korea has developed and tested nuclear weapons as well as intercontinental ballistic missiles, posing a significant threat to global security.
US President Donald Trump is threatening to tear up the 2015 agreement aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear efforts unless European capitals agree to supplement it with tougher controls on Iran’s missile programme and future ability to return to nuclear fuel enrichment.
Upping the rhetoric
Iran is upping the rhetoric in return – with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warning on Saturday that Tehran is ready to “vigorously” resume enrichment if the US ditches the nuclear accord.
Macron said he too supports efforts to curb Iran’s ballistic missile programme, but that this does not require scrapping the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear accord.
“I’m not satisfied with the situation with Iran. I want to fight against ballistic missiles, I want to contain their influence in the region,” he said.
“My point is to say don’t leave now the JCPOA as long as you have not a better option for nuclear, and let’s complete it with ballistic missile and regional containment.”
Macron’s comments came as foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations met in Toronto on Sunday seeking a common front against what they see as aggression from Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland (centre) delivers the opening remarks at the meeting of the foreign ministers of the G7 nations being held in Toronto, where North Korea and Iran are expected to be high on the agenda.
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland (centre) delivers the opening remarks at the meeting of the foreign ministers of the G7 nations being held in Toronto, where North Korea and Iran are expected to be high on the agenda. (Reuters)
Glean clues
The envoys were also keen to glean clues from their US colleague about whether President Donald Trump would tear up the Iran nuclear deal and how he would handle a planned summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
The ministers from the world’s most powerful democracies are in part meeting to set the stage for June’s G7 summit of rich-world leaders in Charlevoix, Quebec.
Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland hosted the meeting and invited her G7 colleagues plus the European Union’s representative to a working lunch to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, where Russian-backed rebels have seized the eastern Donbas region.
Afterwards, she said the G7 members had “reaffirmed our unity in support of Ukraine and a rules-based international order where state sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by all.
Acting US Secretary of State John Sullivan’s first bilateral meeting was with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, to reaffirm “the United States’ ironclad support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.”
G7 capitals are also worried about Russia’s support for Syrian leader Bashar al Assad’s regime in his country’s brutal civil war and the alleged attempt by Russia to kill a defector with a nerve agent on British soil.
After their lunch, the ministers held a meeting on North Korea and nuclear non-proliferation.
North Korea invite
Last month, in one of the most surprising twists in world affairs for decades, Trump accepted an invitation from Pyongyang’s eccentric autocrat Kim to a summit to discuss to discuss his nuclear disarmament.