US President Donald Trump, along with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, during a press conference at the White House in Washington, on April 24, 2018
The presidents of the United States and France agreed on Tuesday in Washington in the negotiation of a „new agreement“ with Iran on its nuclear policy to resolve issues that remained pending in the pact signed in 2015.
At a joint press conference at the White House, the American Donald Trump and the French Emmanuel Macron put aside their differences on the Iranian issue with the idea of a new agreement.
„We have a disagreement,“ Macron said of the pact with Iran. „But I think we are on track to overcome it with the decision we have taken to move towards a new agreement,“ he added.
That new understanding, he explained, would aim to „complete“ the agreement that three years ago was signed by the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, China and Russia with the government of Tehran.
Macron arrived in Washington for a three-day state visit carrying an agenda that highlighted the urgency of convincing Trump not to break the agreement with Iran unilaterally.
However, at the reception ceremony in the Oval Hall Trump began a long and emphatic tirade against the agreement, which he described as „a disaster“ and as „crazy“.
According to Trump, the agreement caused Washington to transfer huge sums of money to the Tehran government.
„We talk about barrels of money, it’s crazy, it’s ridiculous,“ he reinforced.
– Deadlines that urge –
US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, retire after a press conference at the White House in Washington on April 24, 2018
At the end of the meetings between the two heads of state, however, Trump seemed enthusiastic about the idea of a „new agreement“ with Iran that has „solid foundations,“ because the one in force has „fundamentals in decomposition.“
Trump has until May 12 to issue an official position of the White House on compliance or not by Iran of the commitments assumed by the 2015 agreement.
Last week, when questioned by a Senate commission, nominee Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had admitted that Iran is fulfilling its commitments in the light of the agreement.
In case Trump decides that Iran is not fulfilling its obligations, the next step could be a unilateral rupture of the pact, a gesture of unpredictable consequences.
Part of Trump’s irritation is focused on the alleged missile tests that Iran would be conducting, but several analysts suggest that this issue is not part of the agreement on Tehran’s nuclear policy.
In that table, all the other signatories defend the continuity of the agreement, which leaves Washington in a position of isolation.
An idea launched by Trump of a „restart“ of the agreement was received with firm rejection in Tehran.
„We are not going to restart anything, if they restart it, they will have problems,“ an Iranian source said last week.
Macron’s burgeoning agenda in Washington includes other sensitive issues, such as the situation in Syria, the future of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the adoption of import tariffs for steel and aluminum in the United States.
Washington decided a temporary exemption to the countries of the European Union, but France already made clear that it rejects that the non-application of those tariffs is barely temporary and wishes it to become permanent.
– A „fantastic friendship“ –
The arrival of Macron and his wife to the White House, however, had abundant pomp, and Trump received the head of the French state greeting him as „the oldest ally of the United States.“
The climate of distension between the two leaders reached the point that at one point, in the Oval Room, Trump broke the protocol by removing what appeared to be dandruff from the lapel of Macron’s suit.
„The fantastic friendship that we have developed over the last year is a testament to the lasting friendship that unites our two countries,“ said the US president.
„We have such a special relationship that I will remove this little dandruff,“ said Trump, shaking Macron’s lapel with one hand. „He has to be perfect, he is perfect,“ he said.
The relationship of intimacy between the two presidents drew attention to the continuous hugs and handshakes between them. Even, Trump received the French leader with two kisses on the cheek.
Meanwhile, the first two ladies, Brigitte Macron and Melania Trump, took advantage of the day of meetings at the White House to make a trip to the National Gallery of Art, where they visited an exhibition dedicated to the Frenchman Paul Cézanne (1839-1906).