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Macron tries to sway Trump on Iranian nuclear accord

Macron tries to sway Trump on Iranian nuclear accord

While Western European companies might prove to be not unwilling beneficiaries, Iran has also begun to look to even more eager partners.

"I am expecting new sanctions on Iran", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday.

Suzanne Maloney, a former US State Department adviser on Iran, said Trump likely feels vindicated in his hostility to Iran by the eruption of nationwide anti-government protests across the Islamic republic at the end of December.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed the Iran deal, one of Obama's signature foreign policy achievements, as the worst ever negotiated by the U.S. He has particularly bristled at having to give Iran a "thumbs up" every few months by acknowledging that it is meeting the requirements to invest in foreign banks, sell petroleum overseas, buy U.S. and European aircraft, and so forth.

The US is planning to reimpose sanctions on Iran, an official said ahead of President Donald Trump's decision on sanctions relief on Tehran under the 2015 nuclear deal.

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In October, he refused to recertify for Congress that Iran was complying, accusing it of "not living up to the spirit" of the agreement. At the time, the president warned that he would take further action to nullify the deal if Congress and the allies did not act.

Trump has sharply criticized the deal, in part, because it doesn't limit Iranian development of ballistic missiles and support for militant groups in the Middle East. But they have so far been unable to bridge gaps with the Democratic caucus.

Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign affairs representative, reiterated the European view that Tehran was living up to its obligations under the deal.

French President Emmanuel Macron told U.S. counterpart Donald Trump today that it is important for all signatories to respect the landmark Iran nuclear agreement, the French leader's office said.

'Today, the Iranian people are once again rising up to demand freedom and opportunity, and under President Trump, the United States is standing with them.

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He also challenged Washington to come up with a better alternative. So Iran then has to decide, do they walk away from the deal?

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif touched on the same theme during his January 10-11 trips to Russia and Belgium to hold talks with his European and Russian counterparts as well as EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. In October, Trump decertified the nuclear deal under USA law, saying the sanctions relief was disproportionate to Iran's nuclear concessions, and describing the arrangement as contrary to America's national security interests.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by telephone with Trump on Thursday, reminding him of France's determination to strictly abide by the treaty and the importance that all parties adhere to it.

Trump and Macron agreed in the call to continue to apply pressure on North Korea "until it returns to the path of denuclearization", the White House statement said.

A second diplomat said: "The date of the meeting is not a coincidence".

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Meanwhile, during his weekly news conference on the same day, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi displayed great caution in answering questions regarding Iran's possible reaction to the US' possible refusal to renew the sanction waivers.