G7 Agrees on Joint Action to Defuse Iran Tensions

Macron has led a European effort to find a compromise that would get Trump back to the table with the Iranians to help salvage the nuclear deal and defuse tensions in the Middle East
G7 Agrees on Joint Action to Defuse Iran TensionsG7 Agrees on Joint Action to Defuse Iran Tensions

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that G7 leaders have agreed to joint action on Iran with the aim of defusing tensions and opening new negotiations with Tehran.
“We agreed on what we wanted to say jointly on Iran,” Macron told LCI television. 
“There is a message from the G7 on our objectives and the fact that we share them is important, which avoids divisions that in the end weaken everybody,” he said, Reuters reported on Sunday.
“Everyone wants to avoid a conflict, Donald Trump was extremely clear on that point.”
Earlier on Saturday, Macron had pitched US President Donald Trump on a plan to end the standoff over the nuclear deal by allowing Iran to sell oil for a limited period of time in exchange for returning to talks and complying with the agreement.
The proposal was described by a French official after Macron and Trump sat down to an impromptu lunch that stretched for two hours at the Group of Seven Summit in Biarritz, France. However, a senior US official termed the plan a non-starter, Bloomberg reported.
The US in the past has resisted any compromise that allowed Iran to resume selling oil, which is sharply restricted by US sanctions. That is why ending the impasse and putting the deal back together is so difficult: Iran’s No. 1 demand to come back to the bargaining table is that it be allowed to sell oil to help its struggling economy.
The French official described a plan that would occur in two phases. Iran would be allowed to sell some volume of its oil in exchange for a series of commitments: return to compliance with the existing agreement, find ways to lower tensions in the Persian Gulf amid a spate of tanker seizures and return to structured talks on missiles, regional issues and what happens after 2025, when the current agreement is set to expire.



Intended Outcome  

The hope, this official said, is that this could create a de-escalation that allows the two sides to begin talking again, particularly knowing that both Trump and the Iranians have said they do not want war. Macron met with an Iranian delegation on Friday, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, to discuss this proposal.
Trump pulled out of the deal in May 2018, saying it did not do enough to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, an objective that Tehran says will never pursue. 
Iran remained in compliance with the deal for a time, but recently said it was enriching uranium at higher levels than allowed in the deal— meaning it is no longer fully in line with the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Macron has led a European effort to find a compromise that would get Trump back to the table with the Iranians. One struggle has been finding incentives for Iran to renegotiate a deal that took effect so recently, this time surely at worse terms for Iran.
Tehran says it is not ready to revisit the deal and insists that its defense program is non-negotiable.
Salvaging the Iran nuclear accord is one of the key topics of the summit at the beach resort town, which sees Trump in his customary role as the outlier to the European nations that still think the deal can be saved. Another potential stumbling block to compromise in Biarritz: Trump brought with him National Security Adviser John Bolton, the leading Iran hawk in his administration.

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