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Macron lobbies Trump to keep and improve Iran nuclear deal as ‘only way to bring about stability’

In a state visit hosting the leader of America's oldest ally, the personal bond between President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron was evident, and so were their differences over the Iran nuclear deal. At a news conference, Macron said the U.S. should remain part of the deal, but hold talks to improve it, while Trump said he wants an entirely new agreement. Yamiche Alcindor reports.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    A rendezvous at the White House, but a confrontation lies ahead. President Trump and French President Macron met today and discussed differences over the Iran nuclear deal. Their summit came as Iran warned the U.S. not to break the deal.

    Yamiche Alcindor begins our coverage.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    With a 21-gun salute and a military band in revolutionary dress, President Trump welcomed the leader of America’s oldest ally.

  • President Donald Trump:

    The beautiful friendship between the United States and France, forged in revolution, has changed the course of history.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Mr. Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron lauded U.S.-French ties, and their own personal bond was evident.

  • President Donald Trump:

    We do have a very special relationship. In fact, I will get that little piece of dandruff off. We have to make him perfect. He is perfect.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Macron hoped to build on that good will in urging Mr. Trump to maintain the Iran nuclear deal by a May 12 deadline.

    In the Oval Office, their differences over the deal, the joint comprehensive plan of action, were on clear display.

  • President Emmanuel Macron:

    We have the stability to preserve our alliance in the region. And what we want to do is contain the Iranian presence in the region. And JCPOA is part of this broader picture.

  • President Donald Trump:

    It just seems that no matter where you go, especially in the Middle East, Iran is behind it, wherever there’s trouble, Yemen, Syria. No matter where you have it, Iran is behind it.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    President Trump called the nuclear deal “insane” and argued that Iran’s ballistic missile testing is a violation. He also dismissed warnings from Iran that the regime would resume enriching uranium if the U.S. pulls out.

  • President Donald Trump:

    They are not going to be restarting anything. They restart it, they are going to have big problems, bigger than they have ever had before. And you can mark it down.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The two presidents held what they called frank discussions on the subject. And at a joint news conference, Macron said the U.S. should remain part of the nuclear deal, but added that there should be talks to improve it.

  • President Emmanuel Macron (through translator):

    It’s not about tearing apart an agreement and having nothing. It’s about building something new that will cover all of our concerns.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Macron said that includes blocking any Iranian nuclear activity until 2025, completely ending its ballistic missile activity, and finding a political solution in Syria.

  • President Emmanuel Macron (through translator):

    This is the only way to bring about stability.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Mr. Trump, in turn, said that he wants an entirely new agreement.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I think we will have a great shot at doing a much bigger maybe deal, maybe not deal. We’re going to find out whether or not it will be possible to do a new deal with solid foundations, because this is a deal with decayed foundations. It’s a bad deal.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Still, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared today that a U.S. withdrawal from the existing deal would be a betrayal.

    Foreign Minister Javad Zarif followed up this afternoon in New York.

  • Javad Zarif:

    We believe that if the United States were to withdraw from the nuclear deal, the immediate consequence, in all likelihood, would be that Iran would reciprocate and withdraw from the deal.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Russia and China, both of which signed the 2015 agreement, also sought international support today for keeping the U.S. in the nuclear deal.

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