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Donald Trump DID know about Emmanuel Macron’s G7 side meeting with Iranian Foreign minister

Donald Trump quietly approved a G7 side meeting between the French President and the Iranian Foreign Minister, it was suggested today.

Against Mohammad Javad Zarif flew in and out of Biarritz today in a surprise attempt to break a diplomatic deadlock over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme.

He met briefly with his French opposite number Jean-Yves Le Drian, as well as Emmanuel Macron and British and German officials.

President Trump was dismissive on the matter with reporters, saying first that he ‘can’t stop people from talking’ when asked about the meeting and then giving a terse ‘no comment’ when asked if he would be sitting down with Zarif.

But today French officials said Trump had been aware of the arrival, implying it had been discussed during an impromptu two-hour lunch between Trump and Macron on a hotel terrace yesterday.

In a picture posted on his Twitter feed, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (left in white shirt) meets with French President Emmanuel Macron (right) and French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, (second right) on the sidelines on the G7 today

‘We work with full transparency with the Americans,’ one diplomat told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The move may bring a glimmer of optimism in the longrunning standoff between Washington and Tehran. 

The visit represented a gamble by French host Emmanuel Macron who is seeking to soothe spiralling tensions between Iran and the United States.

The Iranian top diplomat did not hold talks with US President Donald Trump in the French surf town, French diplomats said, but the presence of the two men in the same place sparked hopes of a detente.

‘Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying,’ the American-educated Zarif wrote on Twitter after the meeting, sharing photos of smiling officials.

French President Emmanuel Macron walks the street ahead of a meeting with Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during the G7 summit in Biarritz,

French President Emmanuel Macron walks the street ahead of a meeting with Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during the G7 summit in Biarritz,

This photo from the Twitter account of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, shows French President Emmanuel Macron, third left, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian, second left, meeting Zarif, bottom right in white shirt

This photo from the Twitter account of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, shows French President Emmanuel Macron, third left, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian, second left, meeting Zarif, bottom right in white shirt

The Iranian government plane did not spend long on the tarmac in Biarritz between Zarif's arrival and departure

The Iranian government plane did not spend long on the tarmac in Biarritz between Zarif’s arrival and departure

Speaking in Biarritz, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that Trump had in the past said that if Iran ‘wants to sit down and negotiate he will not set preconditions.’

French officials said the discussions had been ‘positive’ and Zarif left the beach-side gathering in the evening. 

Macron had held talks with Zarif in Paris on the eve of the G7 summit and has been leading efforts to bring Tehran and Washington back to the negotiating table.

Trump’s policy of applying ‘maximum pressure’ on Tehran via crippling sanctions has been criticised by European powers and is seen as raising the risk of conflict in the Middle East.

AT the end of July, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on Zarif, saying he ‘spreads the regime’s propaganda and disinformation.’

Macron has urged the US administration to offer some sort of relief to Iran, such as lifting sanctions on oil sales to China and India, or a new credit line to enable exports.

In return, Iran would return to complying with a landmark 2015 deal limiting its nuclear programme, which Trump unilaterally pulled out from last year. 

Trump and Macron speak confidentially during the family photo session with invited guests at the G7 summit. French officials revealed the French President advised the US leader yesterday of his plans to sit down with Iran

Trump and Macron speak confidentially during the family photo session with invited guests at the G7 summit. French officials revealed the French President advised the US leader yesterday of his plans to sit down with Iran

Robert Malley, head of the International Crisis Group, a think-tank, said that it was a sign that Trump had given ‘some positive response’ to Macron’s proposals for a deal.

‘Maybe President Trump told President Macron privately that he was open to some of these ideas,’ he said.

‘The big caveat, the elephant in the room, is that there is considerable room between what President Trump says and what he thinks one day, and what he says and thinks the next,’ he added.

Zarif was a key architect of the 2015 nuclear deal reached between Iran, the United States, European powers, Russia and China.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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