Emmanuel Macron of France challenges Donald Trump's 'America first'

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French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Washington hoping to convince President Donald Trump to stick with the Iran nuclear deal. And Macron mixed personal praise and some optimism about Trump with sharp disapproval of U.S. plans to pull out of treaties it recently joined.

He reiterated French support for USA sanctions on Pyongyang toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and said as for Iran, "our objective is clear: Iran shall never possess any nuclear weapons".

Not shy about expressing his affection for Macron, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, "We do have a very special relationship", as he brushed off what Trump called "a little piece of dandruff" off Macron's suit jacket shoulder.

As Macron prepared to leave Washington on Wednesday evening, he was not optimistic that his attempts at persuasion had succeeded. But during an address to Congress on Wednesday, Macron clearly defined where the two part ways on the issues of climate change and the Iran nuclear deal. For French researcher Celia Belin, from the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, Macron's proposal "is so ambitious that it looks completely impractical". The President has to decide by May 12, the deadline to extend a waiver on sanctions, a key plank of U.S. obligations under the deal.

Macron earlier this week said there was no plan B for the Iran agreement, but on Tuesday he indicated there may be room for a new deal to curb Iran's regional ambitions and ballistic missiles program that would run alongside the existing nuclear pact.

He agreed with Mr Trump that any deal should include a wider agreement on Iran's influence in the Middle East and should cover the country's nuclear activities longer term, as well as its ballistic missile program.

"You will have probably, it's nearly sure, a period of tension in such a scenario", he said.

France's Emmanuel Macron left Washington looking like a superstar - whether or not he changed President Donald Trump's mind on staying in Syria, how to contain Iran or anything at all.

Elsewhere in her remarks, Zakharova announced an unscheduled meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey in Moscow on April 28, saying the three states - which are cooperating in a peace process on Syria - will exchange views on "including the worsening situation around the implementation of the JCPOA", among other issues. "It can be tempting to us as a temporary remedy to our fears", he said. "But we are going to follow the USA government's lead and we have ensured that.we are not dependent on those aircraft", he said.

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Macron also took aim at the president's objections to global trade deals, which he said had created jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

He said multilateralism and United States engagement in the world, saying it was "an essential part of our confidence in the future". "Not now not in five years, not in 10 years, never", he told lawmakers. "Our people cherish the friendship of the American people with as much intensity as ever", Macron said.

"On Iran, we must contextualize this subject within the challenges of the region".

Macron also urged the United States to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords.

Macron added: "What we decided, together with your president, is that we can work on a more comprehensive deal addressing all these concerns".

"For us. the highest priority is keeping the nuclear agreement and full implementation on all sides", he said.

Unlike years past, only one Democrat was invited to the state dinner.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces hard talks with Trump on Friday during a visit at a time when Washington and Berlin are at odds over a range of issues from trade to Iran.

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