Trump leaves Iran diplomacy door open after Macron’s Zarif gambit

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BIARRITZ, France (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to leave a window open for diplomacy with Iran on Monday after French President Emmanuel Macron flew in Iran’s foreign minister to a G7 summit in an effort to reduce U.S.-Iranian tensions.

European leaders have struggled to calm the deepening confrontation between Iran and the United States since Trump pulled Washington out of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the Iranian economy.

But Macron has spent the summer trying to create conditions for a period of pause to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table.

Those efforts took a surprise turn on Sunday when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is under U.S. sanctions, flew to the French seaside town of Biarritz where the Group of Seven leaders were meeting.

Zarif held talks with Macron and British and German officials before returning home. Though potentially a diplomatic minefield, Macron’s gamble with Zarif appears to have worked out for now, as Trump on Monday endorsed the French president’s initiative and toned down his usual harsh rhetoric on Tehran.