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    U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron attend an arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018

    Macron, Trump 'Stuck to Their Guns,' Differences Remain - Ex-French Envoy

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    European leaders are trying to dissuade US President Trump from ditching the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.

    French President Emmanuel Macron has voiced strong opposition to Donald Trump’s desire to tear apart the Iran nuclear deal, which he believes should be seen as the "first pillar" of a broader framework that would restrict Tehran’s ballistic missile and nuclear activities post-2025, when the existing deal expires.

    In an interview with Sputnik, former French Ambassador to Iran Francois Nicoullaud said that Emmanuel Macron is sticking with the Iran nuclear deal and rejects Trump’s position regarding the Iranian dossier.

    “Donald Trump stuck to his guns, just like Macron did. Despite a semblance of agreement, serious differences still persist,” he said.

    “We are taking a great risk resuming discussion on the issue because while France and the US are essentially ready to do this, Iran is categorically against. This means that we are exactly where we started,” Nicoullaud said.

    According to the former envoy, Iran believes that the agreement in its present form is enough to start implementing it before changing or amending it.

    “Iran says that its ballistic missile program and its regional role are non-negotiable,” he noted.

    Francois Nicoullaud believes that Macron’s dual positon could help discourage Trump from taking radical steps which could backfire on Europeans.

    “This could impact Europe’s economic interests because if Trump pulls out from the deal, all previous US sanctions against Iran will be back. This means that secondary sanctions against third countries will also be re-imposed, preventing them from trading with Tehran,” he argued.

    After the sanctions were lifted, Europeans started buying Iranian oil again.

    “Iran is an important source of oil for Europe. Therefore, if the Americans pull the plug on Iranian oil exports, this would create a great deal of tension,” Nicoullaud emphasized.

    Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the deal and reinstate US sanctions on Iran by May 12 unless major changes are made to the agreement.

    France, Germany and the United Kingdom – all of them signatories to the Iran nuclear deal, are currently in talks with Washington trying to dissuade Trump from withdrawing from the accord.

    On Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged other countries to support the deal and warned that the United States would pay “the highest political and moral price at the international level," if it pulls out.

    Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, has also called on European leaders to back the accord.

    READ MORE: Iran Vows to Pull Out of Nuclear Deal if US Exits It — Senior Official

    "President Macron is correct in saying there's no 'Plan B' on JCPOA," Zarif tweeted during a visit to New York

    Signed by Iran, the EU and five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — plus Germany on July 14, 2015, the Iran nuclear agreement, capped Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

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

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


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