17:58 GMT25 January 2020
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    French President Emmanuel Macron visited the Oval Office in Washington on Tuesday for the first time since Donald Trump became US president. Radio Sputnik discussed the relations between France and the US and the future of the Iran nuclear deal with Sina Azodi, a US-based expert on Tehran's foreign policy and US-Iranian relations.

    Sputnik: The US and France, of course, historically have good relations. The presidents of the two countries are also noted to have a close relationship, or even friendship, which some have characterized as a "bromance." How much influence do these two leaders have currently on the state of global affairs?

    Sina Azodi: Well, the "bromance," as you said, has shown itself more during Macron's presidency, tenure, and President Trump. To go back to your question, France is increasingly trying to separate itself, in my opinion, from Europe, and because they are trying to maintain their relationship with the US, and the UK has its own troubles with the EU, and Germany, as Chancellor Merkel mentioned, they are not happy with how President Trump is acting, and she believes that President Trump doesn't share the same values that Europe shares. So, France, I think, is increasingly becoming closer to the US.

    READ MORE: Trump Thanks Macron for 'Steadfast Partnership' in US-Led Strikes on Syria

    Sputnik: Trump does not have a very good relationship with the rest of Europe, and a lot of the leaders of European countries feel that Trump is the opposite of what European standards and what European morals and everything else are about. Macron obviously has a good relationship within Europe. He has a good relationship with other European leaders. Why do you think it is that he is able to overlook Trump's many discrepancies with European values?

    Sina Azodi: Well, as the president of France, I think Macron is interested in the interests of his own country and his own tenure. And as I said, he wants to use the opportunity to basically "make France great again." Maybe President Macron is a relatively young president, I mean, compared to President Trump. But, as I said, they have their own interests. And they also want to make sure that France plays an important role in global affairs. And I think with this special relationship that I mentioned with President Trump, he can use this opportunity to achieve that goal which, as I said, it's not really a term, "make France great again."

    Sputnik: What are the issues that they disagree upon, if you talk about Trump and Macron?

    Sina Azodi: I think there are three important issues, and President Macron has mentioned all three of them. One is in Syria. France has basically insisted that the US should stay in Syria despite President Trump's feelings that the US should withdraw. There is one. The second is the trade war with EU. Again, President Macron mentioned that you can't really have wars with everyone, including your own allies. You can't have a trade war with China, and then another trade war with Europe. So, that's the second issue.

    READ MORE: Trump Warns Iran Against Restarting Nuclear Program

    And I think the third issue, which, I think, would be on the top of agenda for President Macron's trip, would be the Iran nuclear deal or the JCPOA. France wants the United States to stay in the JCPOA, but President Trump has said it repeatedly that he is not happy with how the JCPOA works and that they want to withdraw by the May 12 deadline.

    Sputnik: I think that Macron has said he feels that he will be able to convince Donald Trump not to pull out of the JCPOA. What are your thoughts on the chances that Macron will be able to convince Trump to stay in that deal for now and for a longer period of time?

    Sina Azodi: I'd like to be cautiously optimistic that he can be successful. But it's really hard with President Trump because, you know, he decides something and then last minute he changes his decision. So, we really have to wait until May 12 and see what President Trump would do on that particular date. But it is important that the Europeans, the Germans and the French, they'll see more of the consequences of the US withdrawal from the deal, because they are closer to Iran geographically, they have diplomatic relations, they have trade relations, so they will suffer more from a US withdrawal from the JCPOA than the US.

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

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


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