French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday floated a new plan to ease tensions in the Gulf, The Guardian reported. Macron suggested during the Group of Seven, or G-7, summit being held in Biarritz that the United States partially lift oil embargo on Iran in exchange for Tehran’s full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal agreement.
US President Donald Trump, however, remained non-committal about the proposal. He told reporters that he had not discussed it with Macron. Trump had pulled the country out of the multilateral agreement in May 2018. The G-7 consists of Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and France.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived unannounced at the summit on Sunday evening, AFP reported. “Zarif... has arrived in Biarritz... to continue talks regarding the recent measures between the presidents of Iran and France,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi tweeted, according to the agency. However, Zarif is not expected to hold talks with the Americans or meet Trump.
United States officials at the summit claimed Trump’s strategy of “maximum pressure” on Iran was working. “G-7 countries all agreed the president’s maximum pressure campaign on Iran is having an impact, and that it should continue,” said an unidentified official.
In talks held before the summit, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had said the French initiative was “moving in the right direction”.
Macron also said the G-7 members had agreed to help countries affected by the Amazon wildfires, AFP reported. “We are all agreed on helping those countries which have been hit by the fires as fast as possible,” he told journalists.
Seven of the nine states in Brazil’s Amazon region on Saturday sought military help to tame the wildfires. The day before, leaders in Europe had threatened to scrap a trade deal with South America to pile up pressure on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose lax policies are being blamed for the increase in forest fires. There have been protests outside Brazilian embassies in major cities across the world.
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