French President Emanuel Macron provided a pointed criticism against US President Donald Trump by speaking in favor of the Iran Nuclear deal during his inaugural address at the UN General Assembly.
Macron also ruled out military action against North Korea.
On 2 April 2015, the P5+1 and Iran reached a provisional agreement that sought to lift most of the sanctions in exchange for limits on Iran's nuclear programs extending for at least ten years. When the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) certified that Iran had restricted its sensitive nuclear activities, the UN sanctions were lifted on January 16, 2016.
As sanctions were lifted, companies from European nations could invest and do business in Iran. Iran is one of the most resource-rich nations in the world. It has abundance in oil and natural gas as well as other natural resources like coal, copper, iron ore, manganese and more.
One of the first European companies to ink a major deal was Total, the French multinational integrated oil and gas company. It signed a $5 billion deal with Iran along with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in July 2017. The contract, which has been signed between Tehran and Total is for 20 years.
US President Donald Trump has been critical of the Iran deal and has repeatedly threatened to nullify it.
Similar to Trump, this was French President Macron’s debut at the United Nations General Assembly. Over 130 world leaders are attending the event in New York.
However, Macron struck a decidedly different tone from Trump during his address. He spoke in favor of the Iran deal calling it a “solid, robust agreement that verifies that Iran will not build a nuclear weapon.” He said, “To reject it now without proposing anything else would be a grave error, and not respecting it would be irresponsible. Let’s be stricter, but let’s not unravel agreements that have already brought security. Multilateralism is the most efficient way to face global challenges. It is the realization of a vision of the world that protects us.”
Macron said that if the deal was called off, then Iran would risk becoming another unstable nation like North Korea. During an interview with CNN he said, “North Korea is a very good illustration of a 'what if' regarding Iran. Why? Because we stopped everything with North Korea years and years ago. We stopped any monitoring, any discussions with them, and what's the result? They will probably get a nuclear weapon. I don't want to replicate that situation with Iran.”
Macron also appeared critical of the harsh rhetoric used by Trump while discussing North Korea. He said, “My point is not to increase pressure by issuing words against words. We have to decrease tension and protect people in the region. Look at the map, if we talk of a military solution we speak about a lot of victims. Building peace is what we have to do in this region.”
Macron also stated that there will be no renegotiation when it comes to the Paris Climate Agreement.
Our assessment is that with his address at the UNAG, Macron has positioned himself as a seasoned statesman unafraid of criticizing the United States and Trump. It is likely that the European Union would now work to counter US’ agenda in the Korean peninsula and in Iran. We believe that the belligerence of the US towards Iran goes beyond the stated intent of the Americans. There are larger issues in the Middle East which is at the heart of this confrontation.