Macron admits Trump is likely to pull out of Iran nuclear deal

French president says US changing mind on agreements is ‘insane’ at end of three-day visit

During his state visit to the White House, French President Emmanuel Macron found a kinship with US President Donald Trump. Footage: White House

 

Emmanuel Macron conceded he had probably failed in his attempt during a three-day trip to Washington to persuade President Donald Trump to stay in the Iran nuclear deal, describing US flip-flopping on international agreements as “insane”.

The French president had hoped to convince Mr Trump to continue to waive sanctions on Iran, as agreed by the 2015 nuclear deal, in which Iran agreed to accept strict curbs on its nuclear activities. Mr Macron offered Mr Trump the prospect of negotiations on a new complementary deal that would address Iranian missile development and Tehran’s military intervention in the Middle East.

But speaking to US reporters before leaving Washington, Mr Macron said: “My view – I don’t know what your president will decide – is that he will get rid of this deal on his own, for domestic reasons.”

Noting that Mr Trump had also pulled the US out of the Paris climate change accord – another commitment of the Obama administration – Mr Macron said such frequent changes in the US position on global issues “can work in the short term but it’s very insane in the medium to long term”.

Stinging rebuke

In a speech to Congress earlier, Mr Macron concluded his visit to the United States with a stinging rebuke of many of Donald Trump’s policies, daring the US to “make the planet great again” by rejoining the Paris climate agreement.

A day after Mr Trump and his wife ceremoniously welcomed the French president to the White House at the first state dinner of the Trump presidency, Mr Macron delivered a speech that criticised much of the Trump agenda, particularly on climate change.

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France’s president Emmanuel Macron addressees a joint meeting of Congress in Washington, DC on Wednesday. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images
France’s president Emmanuel Macron addressees a joint meeting of Congress in Washington, DC on Wednesday. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Predicting that America would rejoin the Paris climate accord, which Mr Trump abandoned last July, Mr Macron warned that there was “no Planet B”.

“I believe in offering a better future for our children by offering them a planet that is still habitable in 25 years,” he said, adding he was sure that the United States would “one day come back and join the Paris agreement”.

“What is the meaning of our lives, really, if we live and work destroying the planet . . . destroying opportunities for our children and grandchildren?” he continued, prompting rousing applause from the Democratic side of the chamber.

‘Imaginary risk’

He also said the world must fight against “the ever-growing virus of fake news” which exposes people to “irrational fear and imaginary risk”.

“The corruption of information is an attempt to corrode the very spirit of our democracies,” he said. Warning against the ideologies of nationalism and isolationism, he urged America to embrace a “results-oriented” multilateralism.

“The United States is the one who invented this multilateralism. You are the one who has to help now to preserve and reinvent it.”

On the Iran deal, Mr Macron restated his idea for a new “comprehensive deal” on Iran, which would encompass four “pillars”.

“Our objectives are clear. Iran shall never possess any nuclear weapons, not now, not in five years, not in 10 years – never.” But he added: “We signed it at the initiative of the United States. We signed it, both the United States and France. That is why we should not say we should get rid of it.”

He said that, while it was true to say that this agreement “may not address all concerns, and very important concerns . . . we should not abandon it without having something substantial instead.”

‘Tradesman’

With reports that France, Britain and Germany are nearing a deal to put to Mr Trump ahead of a May 12th deadline, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said that the US had no right to renegotiate the international agreement, dismissing Mr Trump as a “tradesman” not qualified to comment on global treaties.

A possible revised Iran agreement is likely to dominate Friday’s meeting between German chancellor Angela Merkel and the US president at the White House.

Meanwhile, there were reports that Mr Trump will visit Britain in July after the Nato summit in Brussels. While it has previously been suggested that a visit to Ireland could be added to the trip, no specific plans for an Irish visit have been made at this point, according to officials. – Additional reporting Guardian