14:44 GMT29 January 2020
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    On Monday, US President Donald Trump welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, to the White House, making them the Trump administration’s first state visitors.

    Gilbert Mercier, editor-in-chief of News Junkie Post and author of "The Orwellian Empire," told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear that Macron believes he can "influence" Trump on global matters without behaving as his "poodle," in the fashion of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair when he first visited former US President George W Bush in 2001.

    ​"I think Macron and Trump are trying to consolidate a strange friendship. They claim to be very good friends," Mercier told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

    On Monday, Macron tweeted, "The United States and France share a long history, we have led revolutions together to defend freedom and democracy. It is our turn to live up to the example set by our history."

    "One of the main issues I think they are going to talk about is the Iran nuclear deal," Mercier added.

    Trump has repeatedly criticized the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, an international agreement on Iran's nuclear program established in July 2015 between Iran, the US and five other countries, including France.

    The agreement was negotiated by former US President Barack Obama's administration as a way to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program. Under the agreement, Iran pledged to not seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of sanctions imposed against the country.

    In January, Trump asked Congress to address "flaws" in the agreement, which include the deal's failure to curb Iran's missile program, the terms that outline when international inspectors can visit suspected Iranian nuclear sites and "sunset" clauses under which limits on Iran's nuclear program begin to expire after 10 years.

    Last year, Trump also announced that he would waive sanctions on Tehran, as is periodically required under the JCPOA, for the last time. He warned that unless European allies fix the flaws in the agreement by May 12, he will restore US economic sanctions on Iran. 

    "I think that Macron is going to be offering Trump sanctions that are out of scope of the Iran nuclear deal. These are new sanctions that target Iranian ballistic missile development outside the scope of the JCPOA that can give Trump the ability to say, ‘Look, we have something else to get tough on Iran with,'" Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek said on the show.

    In a Sunday interview with Fox News, Macron said, "Is this agreement perfect and this JCPOA a perfect thing for our relationship with Iran? No. But for nuclear — what do you have? As a better option? I don't see it," Macron said. "What is the plan B?"

    "Let's preserve this framework [rather] than some sort of North Korean-type of situation," he added.

    Mercier noted that Macron doesn't want to be viewed as Trump's "poodle," in part because he faces increasing pressures at home for it. "He claims he can influence Trump, that's the card he is playing. He thinks he is most qualified to influence Trump the good way. However, because of that, Macron's approval ratings in France are going down, because his [relationship] with Trump is not going to fare well with the liberal left [in France]."

    It's an opinion shared by some, including Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, who said in December 2017, "To sustain its international credibility, France should not blindly follow the Americans… The French president is now acting as Trump's lapdog," Fars News Agency reported at the time.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    Iran deal, nuclear, Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump, United States
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