French President Emmanuel Macron has said he believes discussions with US President Donald Trump have made it possible to forge a new agreement on Iran.
Macron made the comment during a press conference at the White House on Tuesday.
The French leader said he was aware that Trump considers it a “bad deal” and that he is willing to take on board the US president’s concerns and criticisms as they work toward a “new” deal.
Macron said the two leaders had had a “very frank discussion” on Iran and that the nuclear issue was not the only topic concerning Iran, but that the country’s ballistic missile program posed another threat. In February, Macron said Iran’s ballistic missile program must be put under international surveillance.
The French president said he believed the Iran deal as it stands should not be torn apart, but that it can be changed and added to.
“It’s not a mystery we did not have the same starting position,” Macron told Trump. “Neither you nor I have a habit of changing our stances or going with the wind.”
It was a surprising turnaround for Macron, who was expected to use his visit to Washington to push Trump into remaining in the Iran deal, which was signed in 2015.
The deal limits Iran’s nuclear program in return for economic sanctions relief. Trump has said the deal “was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”
Macron had previously said that ending the Iran deal would be a “grave error” and that it was “essential to peace at a time where the risk of an infernal conflagration cannot be excluded.”
Answering a question from a reporter, Macron said it was true he and Trump “had a disagreement” on Iran, but said he is willing to work on “overcoming it.”
Macron has recently been cozying up to Trump, touting his “very special relationship” with the American leader during an interview with Fox News on Sunday.
During his visit to France last year, Macron took Trump to watch a military parade in Paris and dined with him at the iconic Eiffel Tower restaurant.
The French leader lent his support to Trump two weeks ago by joining the US and Britain for new airstrikes on Syria, which Trump ordered in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government. Macron’s decision was unpopular in France and was criticized by both the left and right.