Macron tells Netanyahu the Iran nuclear deal is not 'sufficient'

Emmanuel Macron welcomes Benjamin Netanyahu on June 5, 2018.
Emmanuel Macron welcomes Benjamin Netanyahu on June 5, 2018. Copyright REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Copyright REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
By Alice Tidey
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The two leaders discussed the Iranian nuclear deal and the situation in Syria.


French president Emmanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu met in Paris on Tuesday for talks largely focusing on Iran.

It is the third time the two leaders have met in Paris since July and comes on the heel of Netanyahu’s visit to Berlin on Monday.

Prior to his travels, Netanyahu said the focus of his European tour was “applying international pressure against Iran.”

Netanyahu has been a staunch opponent of the Iranian nuclear deal and has repeatedly called for it to be scrapped and for a return of sanctions. Macron, meanwhile, has been an ardent defender of the 2015 deal and unsuccessfully lobbied US President Donald Trump not to disengage from the agreement. Along with other EU leaders, he’s now looking into how to keep the deal alive.

Iran notified the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Organisation on Tuesday that it had begun work on increasing its uranium enrichment capacityin case the 2015 nuclear deal falls through.

During a joint press conference following their talks, Macron reaffirmed his commitment to the nuclear deal but said that an additional agreement could be added to target Iran’s ballistic programme. 

"The agreement must be preserved but France never considered it to sufficient and wholly satisfactory," Macron said.

Netanyahu said that he had not asked Macron to leave the deal but that the talks focused on "how to stop Iranian agression in the region."

"The precondition to that is that Iran leaves Syria. It has no business being there," Netanyahu told reporters.

"By preventing Iran's military entrenchment in Syria, we're also preventing something that could be very, very dangerous for Europe," he added.

The two leaders also discussed the Israelo-Palestinian conflict with Macron once again condemning Donald Trump's decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and the deaths of at least 58 Palestinians in mid-May.

"The French position on the Israelo-Palestinian conflict is known: Two states living side by side in peace and security. Following the lastest violence, particularly in Gaza, I let my strong concerns on the prospect for peace be known."

Later in the evening, the two leaders will inaugurate a show highlighting Israel’s technological innovations at the Grand Palais museum in Paris.

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