Home / News / Emmanuel Macron Heads to White House to Lobby Trump on Iran

Emmanuel Macron Heads to White House to Lobby Trump on Iran

“President Macron is correct in saying there’s no ‘Plan B’ on JCPOA,” Mr. Zarif wrote on Twitter. “It’s either all or nothing. European leaders should encourage President Trump not just to stay in the nuclear deal, but more importantly to begin implementing his part of the bargain in good faith.”

Negotiated under Mr. Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, the nuclear deal was signed by the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and Iran in 2015.

Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling international sanctions. But Mr. Trump and other critics have assailed the agreement because some of its provisions begin expiring after a decade and it does not block Iran’s ballistic missile program, much less address its actions to destabilize the region.

Mr. Trump has demanded that the deal be “fixed” by May 12 or he will pull out. The State Department has been negotiating with Britain, France and Germany in hopes of crafting a supplemental agreement that would address some of his criticisms, like the expiration clauses, inspection provisions and ballistic missiles.

But no consensus has been reached and the Europeans reportedly want assurances from Mr. Trump that he would remain in the deal if they reach one. Moreover, it is not clear that Iran would go along even if an agreement eventually is sealed, and Russia and China, the other parties to the original deal, have resisted changes as well.

“We are against revising these agreements,” Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said on Monday after meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, according to news reports from Beijing. “We consider it very counterproductive to try to reduce to zero years of international work carried out via talks between the six major powers and Iran.”

“We will obstruct attempts to sabotage these agreements which were enshrined in a U.N. Security Council Resolution,” Mr. Lavrov added.

Iran will be perhaps the highest profile of several issues on the table as Mr. Trump and Mr. Macron meet.

Others include the ongoing civil war in Syria, the continuing conflict with Russia, Mr. Trump’s threats of tariffs and the disagreement over climate change. Mr. Trump and Mr. Macron teamed up to order airstrikes against Syria this month in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack, but the French leader has been lobbying the American president not to pull out a small contingent of United States troops.

The two joined Britain and other European nations in expelling Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy living in Britain. But they are far apart on climate change, with Mr. Macron seeking to save the Paris accord negotiated under Mr. Obama after Mr. Trump announced last year that he would withdraw the United States, making it the only nation in the world not to join.

Mr. Macron’s trip to the White House will be the first state visit of Mr. Trump’s presidency. The French president and his wife, Brigitte Macron, are due to arrive at the White House shortly after 5 p.m., welcomed by Mr. Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump. The two couples are slated to plant on the South Lawn a tree that the Macrons provided as a gift, a European Sessile Oak that comes from Belleau Woods, where more than 9,000 American Marines died in battle in June 1918 during World War I.

From there, the two couples will fly by helicopter to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate for dinner. The Macrons will return to the White House on Tuesday morning for a pomp-filled arrival ceremony on the South Lawn, complete with military units in formal uniforms. The two presidents will hold meetings and conduct a joint news conference.

In the evening, the Trumps will host their first state dinner, featuring rack of spring lamb and Carolina gold rice jambalaya cooked in New Orleans style. On Wednesday, Mr. Macron will address a joint meeting of Congress, hold a town hall-style meeting at George Washington University and conduct a solo news conference before heading home.

Mr. Macron will not be the only European leader scheduled to be in Washington this week to press Mr. Trump on the Iran deal. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany is due to visit the White House on Friday, although without the trappings of a state visit.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said on Monday that both leaders were expected to raise their views on the Iran deal.

“But the president has been very clear about how he feels about this deal and changes that he needs and wants to see reflected will certainly come up and get ahead of anything the president may or may not commit to or what he would want to see in that,” she said on Fox News. “The president has been very clear on what he’d like to see in this deal and how he wants to make sure we get something better.”

Michael Anton, who recently left his post as spokesman for Mr. Trump’s National Security Council, suggested that Mr. Macron appeared flexible on revising the Iran deal. Mr. Macron’s remark on Sunday “leaves the door open” to the sort of “follow-on agreement” between the European Union and the United States that Mr. Trump is seeking, Mr. Anton said on the same Fox program.

“This would be a pledge between the United States and our allies to multilaterally reimpose sanctions if the Iranians went on a track toward a nuclear weapon,” he said.

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News credit : Nytimes