France urges Donald Trump to save Iran nuclear deal

French President Emmanuel Macron has urged his US counterpart not to abandon a landmark deal with Iran during a meeting in New York. In his UN debut, Trump said "bureaucracy" was holding back the world body.

France stepped up efforts to convince US President Donald Trump to continue a nuclear deal with Iran on Monday as world leaders gathered for the UN General Assembly in New York City.

Trump met with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the deal as well as other international concerns, including terrorism and security.

The US president said on Monday that he would announce a decision "very soon" about whether the US will remain in the deal, making the remarks during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Read more: Diplomats guarded over Donald Trump's inaugural UN visit

France floats post-2025 Iran talks

Earlier, France's foreign minister raised the possibility of resuming talks to strengthen provisions in the accord after 2025. Certain limits on Iran's uranium enrichment are set to expire that year under the nuclear deal.

"France will try to convince President Trump of the pertinence of this choice [keeping the accord] even if work can be done to complement the accord after 2025," Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said prior to Macron's meeting with Trump.

Read more: Iran deal — Donald Trump has Europe concerned

However, Trump made no secret of his opposing views during his talks with Macron, State Department Director of Policy Planning Brian Hook said.

"The president believes that the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) is deeply flawed, and he did share his views with President Macron about how he believes the deal is flawed," Hook said. "The president was very candid with him about what he thinks are the shortcomings... He told him that it is under review and that they are taking a hard look at the Oct. 15th decision and more broadly how to fix the Iran deal." 

Trump must decide in October whether Iran has breached the nuclear agreement, with critics fearing he may withdraw from an accord that prevents Tehran from building a nuclear bomb.

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France and the US agreed to the landmark deal in 2015, along with Germany, Britain, China and Russia.

Under the deal, Iran has dismantled a nuclear reactor, surrendered much of its enriched uranium and submitted its nuclear sites to UN inspection. In exchange, the US and Europe have lifted some sanctions.

Read more: Donald Trump and the Iran nuclear deal – a crisis in the making

Trump: UN has not reached its full potential

Speaking a day ahead of his maiden speech at the UN General Assembly, Trump urged the 193-nation organization to cut costs and reduce bureaucracy.

He began his comments by saying he had seen "great potential right across the street" from the UN headquarters in New York City, referring to a Trump-branded apartment tower.

Trump thanked the UN for helping his property become "a successful project," but said the US wants a better return on its investment in the UN.

Read more: US cuts funding to UN family planning body

"In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential due to bureaucracy and mismanagement," said Trump, speaking at a US-hosted meeting on reform.

"We are not seeing the results in line with this investment," the president said, criticizing the international body's budget.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who sat next to Trump during the meeting, echoed Trump's remarks, saying that a reformed UN needs to focus "more on people and less on process."

On the campaign trail, Trump threatened deep cuts to UN funding, once calling it a "club" for "people to get together, talk and have a good time."

rs/cmk (AP, AFP, Reuters)


Meeting of the powerful

The United Nations headquarters is located in the Turtle Bay area of Manhattan, in New York City is a milestone of modern architecture. It was designed in the late 1940s by, amongst others, Oscar Niemeyer and Le Corbusier.


Hall of decisions

The great domed hall provides space for the delegations of the member states, which participate with up to six envoys at the meetings. In this picture from 2012, the delegates are voting in favor of a resolution granting the Palestinians a special observer status at the UN.


Revamping the hall

The UN General Assembly is held in a vast meeting room that recently underwent an extensive 16-month renovation. Much of the hall's original 1950s design remained when it reopened in 2014, with the exception of a few modern technical updates. The background behind the UN's iconic emblem also had to be replaced as years of cigarette tar and nicotine had stained the surface.


Bold curves

The curved gallery in the lobby is a symbol of the modernity of the building. As the architecture emerged after the Second World War, the gallery was to symbolize the dawn of a new era.


The thing with the shoe

The UN General Assembly has time and again been a place where harsh verbal exchanges have taken place between countries. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev (left, next to Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko) was in such a rage in 1960 that he took off his shoe in order to pound on the table. In the picture he is still holding the shoe in his hand.



Conflicts in the Middle East play an important role in UN meetings and often lead to scandals. In September 2012, the Iranian delegation left the hall as Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech. This year observers expect conciliatory gestures from Iranian President Hassan Rohani.


The sound of freedom

The complex is also notable for its gardens and outdoor sculptures. Here the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is ringing the Japanese Peace Bell. It was an official gift from Japan to the UN in 1954. It is made out of coins donated by children. The peace bell is rung at the opening of each General Assembly session.


Knotted Art

Iconic sculptures include the "Knotted Gun," called Non-Violence, a statue of a revolver with its barrel tied in a knot. The famous sculpture by the Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd stands near the entrance of the UN compound. The artist also gave a copy to German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in 2005 for his opposition to the Iraq war.



During the renovation of the United Nation's headquarters in New York, most of the this large composition in stained glass by Belarusian-French artist Marc Chagall is a memorial to Dag Hammarskjold, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the 15 others who lost their lives in a plane crash in Africa while on a peace mission in 1961.


Iconic art worldwide

In 1996, the "Sphere within a Sphere" by sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, was presented as a gift to the UN by Lamberto Dini, then Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy. Nowadays several versions of the sculpture can be seen in many settings worldwide, including the Vatican Museums in Rome.