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French president expects US to abandon Iran nuclear deal, calls Trump's policy reversal 'insane'

  • French President Emmanuel Macron expects the the United States to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal in the coming weeks, he said Wednesday.
  • He also described the reversal of U.S. policy on international agreements under Trump as "insane."
  • Trump faces a deadline on May 12 to either continue suspending or reimpose sanctions on Iran.
French President Emmanuel Macron answers a question from student in the audience during a town hall meeting at George Washington University in Washington, April 25, 2018.
Brian Snyder | Reuters
French President Emmanuel Macron answers a question from student in the audience during a town hall meeting at George Washington University in Washington, April 25, 2018.

French President Emmanuel Macron expects the the United States to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal in the coming weeks, the European leader told reporters one day after meeting U.S. President Donald Trump.

He also described the reversal of U.S. policy on international agreements, including Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, as "insane."

Macron stressed that he does not have inside information on Trump's decision about the nuclear agreement. However, he said his view is that Trump "will get rid of this deal on his own, for domestic reasons," multiple news outlets reported after Macron addressed the press at an event at George Washington University in Washington on Wednesday.

Macron made his view known following a news conference on Tuesday, during which Trump said the United States and France could reach an agreement "fairly quickly" to address their differences over the 2015 accord.

Trump has long threatened to scrap the deal, while France, Germany and the U.K. — which also negotiated the accord — have sought to preserve it.

Trump must decide by May 12 whether to continue suspending sanctions against Iran under the terms of the nuclear deal. Negotiated by the Obama administration, the agreement lifts sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran accepting limits on its nuclear program.

Concerns about renewed sanctions have roiled the oil market because Iran is one of the world's biggest producers.

Crude prices backed down after Trump's remarks Tuesday about a potential path forward with France, but rose toward three-year highs on Thursday after Macron's comments to reporters renewed fears of supply disruptions from Iran.

Macron told the reporters on Wednesday that the shift in the U.S. policy on the nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement under Trump "can work in the short term, but it's very insane in the medium to long term," the Guardian reported.

Macron said he plans to call Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss opening new diplomatic talks, according to CBS News.

During Tuesday's news conference, he identified several priorities, including addressing Iran's ballistic missile program and its role in several conflicts in the Middle East. He also proposed starting a discussion about how to address Iran's nuclear program after several key restrictions of the current deal expire in 2025.

Differences over the nuclear deal threaten to create a diplomatic rift and exacerbate trade tensions between the United States and Europe. The U.S. influence over global financial markets means that so-called secondary sanctions essentially force countries to choose between doing business with the United States or transacting with Iran.