France’s Macron not sure Trump will ‘preserve’ Iran deal

France’s Macron not sure Trump will ‘preserve’ Iran deal

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron called on the United States on Wednesday not to abandon the Iran nuclear deal as Western envoys said Britain, France and Germany were nearing a package that seeks to persuade US President Donald Trump to save the pact.
Trump has described the 2015 accord, under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of economic sanctions, as the worst deal ever negotiated and has threatened to wreck it by reimposing US penalties next month unless the three European allies agree to fix its “flaws.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused the United States of seeking to unilaterally change the terms of the multilateral deal and derided Trump as a “tradesman” lacking the background to handle international affairs.
Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France, which all struck the accord with Iran and the United States, see the deal as the best way to stop Iran developing a nuclear bomb.
Brian Hook, the lead US negotiator with the three European nations trying to keep Trump in the deal before his self-imposed May 12 deadline, told National Public Radio in Washington that “we’re not there yet, but we’ve made some progress.”
Capping a three-day visit to the United States, France’s Macron told a joint meeting of Congress that the 2015 deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was not perfect but must remain in place until a replacement was forged.
“This agreement may not address all concerns,” Macron said. “But we should not abandon it without having something substantial and more substantial instead. That’s my position.”
Before heading home, Macron acknowledged he expected Trump to pull out of the deal, based on his long opposition to it.
“I don’t know what the American decision will be, but the rational analysis of all President Trump’s statements does not lead me to believe that he will do everything to stay in the JCPOA,” Macron said at a final news conference.
He also told a group of US reporters that if Trump pulls out, it will be “for domestic reasons.”
It is not clear what Macron meant by a new, comprehensive deal. One possibility is an idea, long under consideration, to seek to negotiate a successor to the JCPOA with Iran.