France’s President Emmanuel Macron met President Donald Trump in Washington to discuss a new agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
After talks, President Trump, who is skeptical of an accord that was struck in 2015, spoke about “doing a much bigger, maybe, deal”.
President Macron said a new pact must cover Iran’s ballistic missile program and its role in the Middle East.
Iran warned of “severe consequences” if the US withdraws from the deal.
In 2015, Iran agreed to mothball its nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions on Iran.
President Trump has been threatening to reject an extension of the Obama-era nuclear pact reached between Tehran and world powers by a May 12 deadline.
President Macron had been lobbying Donald Trump to stick with the deal, saying there was no better option.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit the US on April 27 to make a last-minute bid to dissuade President Trump from potentially torpedoing the agreement.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was quoted as saying that Tehran would “most likely” abandon the accord if the US pulled out.
Referring to the 2015 accord which he described as “insane”, President Trump said: “They should have made a deal that covered Yemen, that covered Syria, that covered other parts of the Middle East.”
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron agreed that Tehran’s influence in the region must be part of negotiations.
The French president also stressed that – as well as controlling Iran’s nuclear program for the next decade as envisaged by the current agreement – a fresh deal would need to cover its nuclear activities longer-term, as well as its ballistic missile program.
Emmanuel Macron talked about working with President Trump to build a “new framework” in the Middle East – and especially in Syria.
He said he did not know whether President Trump would extend the May 12 deadline, adding: “I can say that we have had very frank discussions on that, just the two of us.”
President Trump earlier warned Iran against resuming its nuclear program.
“They’re not going to be restarting anything. They restart it they’re going to have big problems, bigger than they’ve ever had before,”
On April 23, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened “severe consequences” if the US withdrew from the deal.
Meanwhile, Javad Zarif said just hours before the Trump-Macron summit that a probable response would be to restart the enrichment of uranium – a key bomb-making ingredient.
Iran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful civilian purposes.