Aug 25, 2019, 1:07 AM
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What is Macron's message to G7 about Iran?

Tehran, Aug 24, IRNA - The G7 summit is being held in Biarritz, France, while many international observers are waiting to see what the Macron plan will be about maintaining Iranian nuclear deal.

The 45th G7 summit commenced on Saturday with the participation of leaders of the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Japan and Canada in the city of Biarritz in southwestern France hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

The main focus of summit has been announced the anti-inequality and issues such as security, climate change, violence against women and gender equality will be discussed. However, the issue of Ukraine, Syria, Iran and Brexit is also expected to be discussed.

The meeting comes as Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with President Emmanuel Macron on Friday at the Elysee Palace, as well as with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian; Macron is supposed to send a message to the G7.

Zarif traveled to France after Finland, Sweden and Norway, and held talks with President Macron in Paris in what was described as a sensitive and unprecedented meeting. Zarif called the talks with the French president good and constructive after the meeting.

President Macron and President Hassan Rouhani had a phone conversation a few weeks ago. The purpose of the talks was to see how the nuclear deal could be maintained through Europe's fulfillment of its obligations under the agreement. President Macron made some suggestions last week to President Rouhani and we believe they are moving in the right direction, although we are not definitely there yet,” Zarif told AFP in an interview after meeting Macron for rare talks in Paris.

“We discussed possibilities. He [Macron] is now going to discuss with European partners and other partners to see where we can go from here,” Zarif added.

France has increased its efforts to maintain the nuclear deal since a month or two months ago. Towards this end, one month ago, as the second step in the reduction of Iran’s JCPOA-related commitments was implemented, top Advisor to French President Emmanuel Bonne arrived in Tehran on July 10 with a plan to meet with President Rouhani, Zarif and Supreme National Security Council  Secretary Ali Shamkhani.

During his visit to Tehran, senior adviser to Macron submitted a freeze-for-freeze proposal. A plan foreign ministry spokesman explained that under this plan, Iran is freezing the reduction to its nuclear pledges at this stage, and the United States will temporarily revive some of Iran's oil exemptions in order the negotiation with Iran to restart. Of course, the plan was not approved by Iran.

A few days ahead of Zarif's visit to Scandinavia and France, the Daily Beast website wrote that it was reported nearly one month ago that the French president, in talks with his Iranian counterpart, had proposed a suspension vis-à-vis suspension namely the suspension of US sanctions in the face of suspending the reduction of Iran's JCPOA obligations. A plan that was purely raised in the media, but was not endorsed or denied by any official in Iran, France or the United States.

The Daily Beast also wrote that there was disagreement among US National Security Council officials over the details of the suspension plan. One of the most important differences was over whether to suspend a selected part of the sanctions or to maintain sanctions or to suspend all sanctions against Iran.

However, the details of the French plan to be discussed at the G7 summit are still unknown. There has been a lot of speculation at the media level, but one must wait to see what does Macron do in the G7?

Of course, another important issue to be discussed at the G7 is the issue of Russia's re-joining the group. Russia was expelled from the G7 since former US President Barack Obama’s term on issues related to Ukraine and the Crimea. Russia’s return to the group has been raised these days, but it seems that only President Donald Trump has agreed Russia to join. Trump even said that Russia should be included in the group, since many of the issues we are discussing are related to Russia, and it would be much easier to discuss some issues if Russia returns to the G7.

But the European Union's stance on Russia's return was contrary to the US; the EU has stated that it opposes Russia joining the structure until the factors that led to Russia's removal from the G7 are resolved. Russia's return to the Group of Seven and resumption of activities within the framework of the eight major states is only possible after the Ukraine crisis is resolved, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the eve of the G7 summit also promised Russia's return to the group and its conversion to G8 to resolve Western disputes with Moscow over Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula. Speaking to reporters, Merkel said that on Russia's participation in the G7 meetings has to be said that Russia was fired in 2014 for obvious reasons and the Russian president recently traveled to France. There may have been some minor improvements in the implementation of the Minsk Agreement (about eastern Ukraine), but if we really move forward, a new situation will emerge. To date, we have not progressed as far as to say that the reasons (of Russia's expulsion from G8) in 2014 have been removed.

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