x

Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Macron to warn Trump against leaving Iran nuclear deal

The French leader is on a three-day state visit to Washington, where Syria and trade will also be on the agenda

<p>After a friendly dinner together with their wives in Washington, US President Donald Trump and&nbsp;French President Emmanuel Macron will get down to business on Tuesday. AFP</p>
After a friendly dinner together with their wives in Washington, US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron will get down to business on Tuesday. AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron is to push his US counterpart Donald Trump to preserve the Iran nuclear accord on Tuesday as the two leaders get down to business in Washington.

After an amicable dinner to mark the start of Mr Macron’s state visit to the US, he and Mr Trump will sit down to discuss a range of divisive issues, which also include the Syria conflict and trade wars.

Despite an blossoming "bromance" between the two, there is much they do not agree on. One of the main dividing points between Washington and Paris is the nuclear deal with Tehran that Mr Trump is threatening to nix.

The US President has given the Europeans until May 12 to “fix” the 2015 agreement that reins in Iran’s nuclear programme. If they miss that deadline, he has threatened to withdraw his support, paving the way for renewed American sanctions which could kill the entire deal.

Iran has said that if the US abandons the agreement, it is prepared to restart its nuclear programme, something that Europe is scrambling to avoid.

As the pair's meeting got underway on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the US faced "grave" consequences if it withdrew its involvement.

_______________

Read more:

France's Macron expected to touch down in Washington on Monday

Macron and Trump's bromance stems from a mutual love of personality politics

Can Macron’s White House visit save the Iran deal?

_______________

Mr Macron, who has positioned himself as Mr Trump’s closest European ally, is intent on using that special bond to try and pull him back from the brink. It is a message that German chancellor Angela Merkel will reiterate when she visits Washington later this week.

Syria will also be on the agenda on Tuesday, with the young French leader anxious to persuade Mr Trump to maintain a long-term US commitment in the war-torn country.

"The US role is very important to play," he told Fox News before flying to Washington. "Why? I will be very blunt. The day we will have finished this war against ISIS, if we leave, definitely and totally, even from a political point of view, we will leave the floor to the Iranian regime, Bashar Al Assad and these guys."

Another deadline is looming: tariffs on European steel and aluminium are set to come into effect on May 1, unless Mr Trump agrees to sign a waiver. If he doesn’t, the risk is a fully-blown trade war.

“If you make war against everybody…trade war against Europe, war in Syria, war against Iran - come on - it doesn't work,” Mr Macron told Fox News. “You need allies. We are the allies."