Macron proposes new “comprehensive deal” over Iran

French President Emanuel Macron has presented US President Trump with new proposals on Iran in the hope of saving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement.

Western envoys said yesterday that Britain, Germany and France, known as the E3, have almost completed a package of separate measures that could be taken against Iran in the hope they would satisfy Trump to remain in the nuclear agreement.

The package was presented by Macron in his address to the US Congress on Wednesday. He said the new deal would encompass the pillars of the original nuclear agreement, impose permanent restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programme, address their ballistic missile activities, and limit their military operations across the region.

Macron also said he believes Trump will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal next month “for domestic reasons,” citing Trump’s words as evidence that “he is not very eager to defend it”.

In reference to Trump having pulled the US from the Paris climate change agreement, Macron said changes in the US stance on several world issues might work in the short term but were “very insane in the medium to long term”.

US non-proliferation envoy Christopher Ford told reporters on the side-lines of a non-proliferation conference in Geneva yesterday that the US is “not aiming to renegotiate the JCPOA or reopen it or change its terms,” but is “seeking a supplemental agreement that would in some fashion layer upon it a series of additional rules – restrictions, terms, parameters, whatever you want to call it – that help answer these challenges more effectively”.

Israeli Minister of Intelligence, Yisrael Katz, believes the proposed new US-European deal might dissuade Trump from abandoning the JCPOA but he didn’t say whether Israel backed a separate arrangement put forward by Macron. Katz said that “putting heavy pressure on Iran today can prevent violence and perhaps war tomorrow”.

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