Macron, Trump call for new nuclear deal with Iran

Macron, Trump call for new nuclear deal with Iran

Washington: French President Emmanuel Macron and his American counterpart Donald Trump called jointly on Tuesday for a new nuclear deal with Iran, after the US leader denounced the three-year-old accord as “insane.”
“I can say that we have had very frank discussions on that, just the two of us,” Macron told a joint press conference with Trump at his side.
“We, therefore, wish from now on to work on a new deal with Iran.”
Trump’s European allies have repeatedly tried to persuade him not to walk away from the 2015 deal, which gave Iran massive sanctions relief and the guarantee of a civilian nuclear programme in return for curbs on programmes that could be used to develop an atomic weapon.
It did not tackle Western complaints about Iran’s ballistic missile programmes or support for militant groups across the Middle East.
Trump faces a May 12 deadline to decide on its fate and is demanding changes that many in European capitals believe would represent a legal breach.
“I think we will have a great shot at doing a much bigger, maybe, deal,” said Trump, stressing that any new deal would have to be built on “solid foundations.”
“This is a deal with decayed foundations. It’s a bad deal, it’s a bad structure. It’s falling down,” the US leader said. “We’re going to see what happens on the 12th.”
When asked to clarify if he meant he was pushing for a new accord, or an add-on agreement, Macron said, “I’m not saying that we move from one agreement to another.”
The French president said a new deal would have to include three additional elements: Tehran’s ballistic missile programme, its influence across the Middle East, and what happens after 2025 – when under the current accord Iran would be able to progressively restart part of its nuclear programme.
He called the initial 2015 deal only the “first pillar” of an eventual wider deal.
For months, American and European officials have been working behind the scenes to try to find a compromise over Trump’s demands to change the agreement.
Analyst Edmund Ghareeb explains the differences that exist between Europe and the US over the Iran nuclear deal.
Officials have toyed with the idea of a separate joint declaration: promising to tackle non-nuclear issues, while searching for a tougher successor accord.
Iran, meanwhile, has warned it will ramp up enrichment activities if Trump walks away from the accord, prompting Trump to issue a blunt warning.
“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,” the US president said.
However, despite the rhetoric, Iran was unbowed, with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif putting Trump on notice, saying that if the US pulled out of the nuclear deal, Iran would “mostly likely” abandon it, too.
Zarif said that the benefits that had been promised to Iran by sticking to the deal had failed to materialise.
Zarif said a US withdrawal from the landmark 2015 accord would undermine Trump’s talks with North Korea by proving that America reneges on its promises. He said if Trump re-imposes sanctions, “basically killing the deal,” Iran would no longer be bound by the pact’s international obligations, freeing it up to resume enrichment far beyond the deal’s strict limits.
He said Iran would welcome lower tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but Trump was showing the world that the US is “not a trustworthy, reliable negotiating partner.”
“They’re prepared to take everything that you’ve given, then renege on the promises that they have made in the deal,” Zarif said. “That makes the United States a rather unlikely partner in any international agreement. And unfortunately this track record is not just limited to the nuclear deal. It includes the Paris climate agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and a lot of other freely undertaken commitments of the United States.”