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Apr. 25, 2018

Macron Urges US Lawmakers to Keep Iran Nuclear Deal Intact


French President Emmanuel Macron urged U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday to see that the United States does not abandon the international pact with Iran to restrain its nuclear weapons development.

In a ringing address to both chambers of Congress, Macron declared that Iran "shall never possess nuclear weapons, not in five years, not in 10 years, never."

The French leader did not mention U.S. President Donald Trump's vocal opposition to the 2015 deal as Trump weighs a decision next month whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran.


French President Emmanuel Macron reaches out to U.S. President Donald Trump as he speaks during their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, April 24, 2018.

But Macron said, "We must ensure stability" and not abrogate the accord, pointedly saying that France "signed it at the initiative of the United States," which was negotiated by Trump's predecessor, former President Barack Obama.

Macron, as he did in talks with Trump on Tuesday at the White House, called for negotiations for a new agreement with Iran over Tehran's ballistic missile tests and military involvement in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq. But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday rejected the idea of a new deal or any changes in the nuclear pact reached after lengthy negotiations with Britain, Germany, Russia, China, France and the United States.

Trump has continued to assail the Iran nuclear deal as "insane" and "ridiculous" and made no commitment to stick with the nuclear pact as he approaches a May 12 deadline for a decision on new sanctions. Trump stands alone among the signatories to the Iran deal in opposing it.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Wednesday it needs to be preserved.

Praises cooperation

Macron gave a robust defense of multilateral agreements among nations and said Europe and the United States must face the "new threats and challenges" of the 21st century.

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, April 25, 2018.

"We can choose isolationism, but it will not stop the evolution of the world," he said. He said Western allies cannot let nationalistic impulses take over and "undermine the liberal order we set after World War II. It is a critical moment."

He won his loudest cheers from some lawmakers when he said that decisions affecting climate change must be "based on science," a rebuke to some conservatives who say they are not sure whether people have contributed to climate change. "There is no planet "B", he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron greets members of Congress after a joint meeting of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, April 25, 2018.

Trump has announced his intention to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate change pact, saying it would hurt U.S. business interests.

But Macron predicted, "I'm sure one day the U.S. will come back again to join the Paris agreement."

Wednesday is Macron's final day in a three-day trip to Washington, in what has been a whirlwind of official talks and social events, the first state visit by a foreign leader during Trump's 15-month presidency.

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron, pose for photographs as they arrive for a State Dinner at the White House in Washington, April 24, 2018.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump hosted a lavish state dinner Tuesday for Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, and more than 100 guests, including numerous Trump administration officials and leading U.S. corporate executives.