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French President Emmanuel Macron announced a four-pillar framework for a potentially reworked Iran deal during a joint press conference with President Donald Trump on Tuesday afternoon.
Trump has long written off the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran deal, as a lopsided, inconsistent investment for the U.S. While Macron acknowledged this idea, he proposed that a multipronged approach to the region is a melding of both leaders' points of view.
“It's not a mystery, we did not have the same starting positions stances, and neither you nor I have a habit of changing our stances or going with the wind,” Macron noted in French. “Our discussions allowed us to shed light on our convergence is that we need to cover four topics.”
Blocking any nuclear activity out of Iran until 2025, restricting long-term nuclear developments, shuttering the region's ballistic weapons program, and drawing up agreeable terms for surrounding nations of Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon are Macron's main goals that he hopes to work toward in the weeks to come, he remarked.
“This is the only way to bring about stability,” Macron said.
Trump was less forward-looking when remarking on JCPOA.
“This is a deal with decayed foundations,” Trump said. “It's a bad deal. It's a bad structure. It's falling down. It should have never, ever been made. I blame Congress. I blame a lot of people for it. But it should have never been made.”
And just hours earlier, Trump did not mince words and drew a particularly hard line for Iran's behavior.
“It won't be so easy for them to restart,” Trump said of Iran's nuclear program. “They restart it, they're gonna have big problems. Bigger than they've ever had before — and you can mark it down.”
He teased a possible re-entry into a refreshed arrangement in front of French and local press in the East Room of the White House.
“Nobody knows what I'm going to do on the 12th,” Trump added and joked that Macron may be clued in.
Throughout both of their opening statements and Q&A, Trump and Macron stressed their unique “special relationship,” a term normally reserved for U.S./U.K. relations. Trump often referred to Macron as his “very good friend,” patting him on the shoulder and, in a viral moment earlier that day, even flicking some dandruff from Macron's jacket.
The two made a commitment to work in tandem on several hot-button issues, including the occupation of Syria, fair and reciprocal economic dealings, and denuclearization of North Korea. Trump added that he and Macron discussed the U.S.'s upcoming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their closed-door, hourlong discussion in the Oval Office.
“We can change, and we can be flexible. You know, in life, you have to be flexible,” Trump said of the U.S.'s relationship with France. “And I think we actually get along on many of the subjects we discussed today.”