French president stresses need to keep Iran nuclear deal

Press TV- Amid US threats to kill the Iran nuclear deal, President Emanuel Macron of France has reaffirmed support for the multilateral agreement, but claimed it should be expanded to include other issues.

Speaking at a news conference in Australia on Wednesday, Macron warned against attempts at sabotaging the nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), noting that no one wants more regional tensions.

France is “very much attached to the stability of the region,” he added, saying, “I think nobody wants a war in the region, and nobody wants an escalation in terms of tension in the region.”

US President Donald Trump, who has been demonizing the JCPOA since his inauguration last year, is threatening to pull out of the agreement by a May 12 deadline for Washington to renew its support for the deal.

He has given the European signatories to the deal, namely France, Britain and Germany, until that date to fix the “flaws” in the JCPOA or the US would not stay in it.

The US head of state argues that the nuclear deal should address Iran’s domestic defense program as well as its role in the region, where Tehran has been helping its neighbors fight terrorism.

Trump’s ultimatum has created a rift in the European Union. Some of the bloc’s states, mainly France, have been seeking to allay the US president’s “concerns,” while others such as Italy have warned against putting pressure on Iran.

Macron further claimed the current agreement is not “sufficient,” and said he is pushing alongside the UK and Germany to enable negotiations for “a broader deal.”

He also claimed there needs to be three “pillars” in the deal, namely Iran’s post-2025 nuclear activities, its conventional missile program and its regional role.

The French leader first spoke of a “new deal” with Iran late last month in Washington, where he was supposed to boost Europe’s efforts to make Trump change his mind on the nuclear deal.

Speaking alongside Trump on April 25, Macon said there might be room for “a new deal” alongside the existing one, which would address Iran’s missile defense program and regional role.

Those comments prompted reactions from other signatories in support of the deal, with the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, reaffirming once again that the existing deal was working and thus should be saved.

In Australia, Macron said he said “I don’t know what the US president will decide on May 12,” adding, “I just want to say whatever the decision will be, we will have to prepare such a broader negotiation and a broader deal.”

He had said after concluding hits talks in Washington that the US president would most likely pull the US out of the nuclear accord.

Tehran has said the deal, which is the result of over a decade of negotiations, is not up for re-negotiation, and that it has prepared several options for responding to a possible US pullout.

Macron’s latest comments came two days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a fresh propaganda campaign against the Iran deal. He went live on TV and unveiled, during an elaborate presentation, what he called “evidence” that Iran has a “secret” nuclear program.

The French president made no comment on Netanyahu’s anti-Iran show, but his Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday to support the JCPOA.

Israel’s purported data, the statement, underscores the need to ensure that the Iran nuclear deal and UN inspections remained.