Macron: If Trump pulls out of Iran deal ‘it could mean war’
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Macron: If Trump pulls out of Iran deal ‘it could mean war’

French president tells German media that withdrawing from nuclear accord would 'open a Pandora's box'

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) talks to US President Donald Trump during a welcome ceremony at Les Invalides in Paris, on July 13, 2017.  (AFP Photo/Bertrand Guay)
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) talks to US President Donald Trump during a welcome ceremony at Les Invalides in Paris, on July 13, 2017. (AFP Photo/Bertrand Guay)

French President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday that a decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal could spark a war.

Macron told the German daily Der Speigel that the worst-case scenario would be for Trump to withdraw fully from the deal. “That would mean opening Pandora’s box, it could mean war,” he said, adding, “I don’t believe that Donald Trump wants war.”

Two weeks ago Macron made a three-day state visit to Washington primarily to convince Trump to stay in the 2015 deal, negotiated between Tehran and six world powers and considered the signature foreign policy legacy of Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.

Trump has set a May 12 deadline to “fix or nix” the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and has repeatedly threatened to pull out of it. The agreement imposes strict restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in return for the loosening of economic sanctions.

Macron argued that the pact presents the only viable option available to the international community to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Besides agreeing to submit to snap inspections, Iran also cut the number of centrifuges used for enriching uranium and reduced its stockpiles of the material, in return for the loosening of economic sanctions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a joint press conference with the leaders of Turkey and Russia as part of a tripartite summit on Syria, in Ankara, on April 4, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN)

In January, Trump gave Congress and European allies an ultimatum to either amend the pact to his liking or stand by as he renewed sanctions against Tehran.

Britain, France and Germany — the three European countries that signed the deal — have repeatedly tried to persuade Trump not to abandon it.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that if the United States quits the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers Washington would regret it.

“If the United States leaves the nuclear agreement, you will soon see that they will regret it like never before in history,” Rouhani said in a televised speech in northwestern Iran.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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