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Macron backtracks on ‘G7 mandate for Iran’ after Trump denial

Andrew Harnik, Pool, AFP | G7 leaders at the summit in Biarritz, August 25, 2019.

Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that G7 leaders had agreed joint action on Iran with the aim of defusing tensions and opening a new negotiation with Tehran. But Donald Trump denied that this had happened.

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The French president said on Sunday that G7 leaders had agreed joint action on Iran with the aim of defusing tensions and opening a new negotiation 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."

"Everyone wants to avoid a conflict, Donald Trump was extremely clear on that point."

But Trump denied this. "No I haven't discussed that," the US president told reporters on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.

This contradicted Macron who shortly beforehand had said the G7 countries "agreed on what to say to Iran".

Trump said: "We'll do our own outreach. But you can't stop people from talking. If they want to talk, they can talk."

Macron, who has taken the lead to defuse tensions fearing that a collapse of the nuclear deal could set ablaze the Middle East, met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday. The aim was to discuss proposals that could ease the crisis, including the idea of reducing some U.S. sanctions or providing Iran with an economic compensation mechanism.

Macron appeared to backtrack on his own team’s comments later, saying there was no formal mandate from the G7 leaders to pass a message to Iran.

Highlighting just how difficult agreeing on concrete measures between allies is, Macron said the leaders’ views had converged on not wanting Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb and ensuring peace and security in the Middle East.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)

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