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Trump and France’s Macron seek new measures on Iran as deadline looms


Agencies, Washington U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron pledged on Tuesday to seek stronger measures to contain Iran, but Trump refrained from committing to staying in a 2015 nuclear deal and threatened Tehran with retaliation if it restarted its nuclear program. At a news conference with Macron, the U.S. president kept up his blistering rhetoric against the nuclear accord between Iran and world powers that he says does not address Tehran’s rising influence in the Middle East or its ballistic missile program. He called it insane, terrible and ridiculous. “This is a deal with decayed foundations,” Trump said. “It’s a bad deal. It’s falling down.” With a May 12 deadline looming for Trump to decide on restoring U.S. economic sanctions on Tehran, Macron said he spoke to Trump about a “new deal” in which the United States and Europe would tackle the outstanding concerns about Iran beyond its nuclear program. Macron is using a three-day state visit to the United States as a high-stakes bid to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, which many in the West see as the best hope of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear bomb and heading off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Under Macron’s proposal, the United States and Europe would agree to block any Iranian nuclear activity until 2025 and beyond, address Iran’s ballistic missile program and generate conditions for a political solution to contain Iran in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. It was unclear whether Macron made substantial progress in his efforts to prevent Trump from pulling out of the 2015 deal, and Trump stressed there would be repercussions should Iran restart its nuclear program. “If Iran threatens us in any way, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid,” Trump said. But Trump said: “We will have a great shot at doing a much bigger, ‘maybe deal, maybe not’ deal.” The French believe progress had been made.

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