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World Macron Tried to Broker Meeting Between Trump, Iran's President

15:51  25 september  2019
15:51  25 september  2019 Source:   online.wsj.com

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What a successful Trump strategy on Iran must include Holding Iran accountable is a core component of any coherent Iran strategy, writes Samantha Vinograd. To date, the administration has suffered from self-inflicted policy wounds and a lack of a thoughtful strategy to get back to the negotiating table. Whether it's a Trump-Rouhani meeting in New York or private discussions between US and Iranian experts to lay out the parameters for meaningful negotiations, the national security team should not miss the forest for the trees: Iran is a bad actor, but by making a series of policy missteps the administration has aggravated those threats.

French President Emmanuel Macron mounted an intensive effort to broker a meeting between President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, but the attempt failed when Iran The meeting would have been the first of a U. S . and Iranian president since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

French President Emmanuel Macron made the proposals and tried to broker a meeting between Trump and Rouhani, the Iranian leader said. In an interview with CNN' s Christiane Amanpour in September, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Iran would be open to negotiating a new deal

UNITED NATIONS—French President Emmanuel Macron mounted an intensive effort Tuesday to broker a meeting between President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, but the attempt failed when the Iranian side insisted the U.S. first commit to easing sanctions, according to people briefed on the discussions.

a group of people standing next to a person in a suit and tie © ludovic marin/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The meeting would have been the first of a U.S. and Iranian president since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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The confidential diplomatic maneuvers, which were strongly supported by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, took place amid the rising tensions in the Persian Gulf following the alleged Iranian attack earlier this month on a Saudi oil facility and a war of words between Washington and Tehran.

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Hard-Liners in Iran See No Drawback to Bellicose Strategy President Trump appeared to be softening toward Iran. He had broken with his administration’s leading advocate of confrontation, signaled a willingness to meet personally with his Iranian counterpart, and reportedly considered relaxing some sanctions. But Iran, American officials say, responded with violence. 

U. S . President Donald Trump said on Monday he would meet Iran ' s president under the right Trump told reporters it was realistic to envisage a meeting between him and President Hassan They are hurting badly,” Trump said. French President Emmanuel Macron , host of the G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron attempted to arrange a telephone conversation between Iranian Watch as French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson try to persuade No Meeting Envisaged Between Trump , Rouhani During UNGA – Iran ’ s Mission to UN.

Mr. Trump told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that his administration was prepared to increase the sanctions pressure on Tehran until Iran no longer posed a threat to the U.S. and its allies.

Mr. Rouhani, who has demanded that the U.S. abandon “warmongering,” is scheduled to deliver his rejoinder to the General Assembly on Wednesday.

France, Britain and Germany are worried that there is a growing risk of a military confrontation in the Gulf, which would lead to a cut off in oil supplies and perhaps a major war.

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On Monday, they issued a statement urging talks on a new diplomatic framework that would cover Iran’s nuclear activities, its missile program and regional crises.

That proposal was received positively by the Trump administration, which left a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran on the grounds that it didn’t go far enough to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program and its assertive posture in the region.

But for the Europeans, that left the problems of how to get those diplomatic discussions off the ground.

In a bid to launch the new talks, Mr. Macron met separately Tuesday with Mr. Trump and Mr. Rouhani. Mr. Johnson also met with the Iranian and U.S. leaders.

The goal was to bring about a multilateral meeting that would likely have included the U.S. and Iranian presidents as well as Mr. Macron and possibly other European leaders. That would have required that the U.S. and Iran resolve or set aside any preconditions for a meeting.

“I think I agree with Emmanuel. You need to be on the side of the swimming pool and jump at the same time,” Mr. Johnson said during a huddle Tuesday with Mr. Macron and Mr. Rouhani.

But Iran wouldn’t budge on its insistence that the U.S. first ease sanctions and the Americans didn’t meet the Iranian demands.

The White House declined to comment. Iranian officials didn’t respond to requests for comment about the European initiative.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday evening, Mr. Macron insisted that his efforts weren’t wasted and that the conditions are now in place “for a quick resumption of dialogue and negotiations” between the U.S. and Iran.

“It’s now for Iran and the U.S. to seize these conditions and to meet together again to re-create some momentum,” he said. “France is ready” to assist.

Despite the talk of progress, differences remain. European nations are still committed to preserving the 2015 nuclear accord even as they are trying to usher in talks about a broader diplomatic arrangement that might supersede it.

Nor have the Europeans endorsed all of the U.S. demands or its readiness to step up sanctions.

And while the Europeans were trying to play matchmaker between the U.S. and the Iranians, other diplomatic meetings were taking place.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo huddled in New York with counterparts from the Gulf Cooperation Council, a group of Arab states including Saudi Arabia.

Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, said on Tuesday that the statement by France, Britain and Germany calling for a more comprehensive approach on the Iran issue was “a significant step forward.”

But he indicated during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations that Saudi Arabia still had concerns about how firm the Europeans were prepared to be with Iran—what he called the methodology of European policy.

He said Mr. Macron’s proposal to grant Iran modest sanctions relief had emboldened Iran, as had the Europeans’ reluctance to blame Iran for the May attack on a Saudi oil pipeline. Saudi Arabia, he added, was still weighing its diplomatic, military and economic options.

Tuesday’s diplomatic push came after the U.K., France and Germany on Monday publicly blamed Iran for last week’s attacks on Saudi oil facilities

Iranian officials reacted angrily to the European statement, criticizing the three countries for backing the U.S. charge that Iran was responsible for the Saudi attacks and saying Europe shouldn’t be making demands that are inconsistent with the nuclear deal.

In a speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Macron said the U.S. strategy of economic pressure had produced an Iranian response of “maximum pressure” against Tehran’s neighbors, which has created the risk of a serious conflict.

He set out five issues on which negotiations should focus: certainty that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons, a solution to the Yemen crisis, a regional security plan that addresses other conflicts, the security of maritime navigation and the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran.

“I am not naive at all and I don’t believe in miracles,” he said. “I believe that it takes courage to build peace.”

Mr. Rouhani told reporters in New York on Tuesday that Iran could only accept some small amendments to the 2015 accord. That appeared to be a reference to an Iranian offer to quickly ratify an international protocol allowing the U.N.’s atomic agency to conduct broader inspections in member states. Iran has already provisionally applied this so-called additional protocol, so it would have no practical impact on where inspectors could go.

Write to Laurence Norman at laurence.norman@wsj.com and Michael R. Gordon at michael.gordon@wsj.com

Prospects of war and chances for peace dominate UN speeches .
Prospects for war and peace from the Middle East to Europe, Africa and Latin America dominated the second day of the annual gathering of world leaders Wednesday, reflecting the complex global landscape where conflicts persist and terrorism is spreading. Iran remained foremost on everyone's mind, as leaders echoed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' warning that above all, the world faces "the alarming possibility of armed conflict in the Gulf" with consequences "the world cannot afford."The recent attack on key Saudi oil installations — which the U.S., France, Britain and Germany blame on Iran — has exacerbated the threat.

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