Macron meets Rouhani at UNGA but Trump stays away

 | Updated: Sep 25, 2019, 01:45 AM IST

French President Emmanuel Macron is cautiously hopeful for a breakthrough in the US-Iran relations and is seeking to bring the two together

Emmanuel Macron meets Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Monday.


Emmanuel Macron and Hassan Rouhani

"The path of de-escalation is narrow but more necessary than ever, and it was time for Iran to take it," Macron told Rouhani in the meeting, according to a statement from the French presidency.


Donald Trump

Donald Trump


Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Trump also said he had no meetings scheduled this week with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani but would not rule out meeting him in New York.


Donald Trump and Hassan Rouhani

Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since May last year when Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal and began reimposing sanctions on Iran in a campaign of "maximum pressure."

Following the Group of Seven summit in France in August, though, Trump spoke openly of his willingness to meet his Iranian counterpart face-to-face, if the conditions were right.


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Diplomats hope a meeting would help de-escalate tensions in the Gulf that have flared since May when the US ended all waivers in its unilateral sanctions that seek to stop Iran from selling any oil.

Iran has responded by reducing its commitments under the nuclear deal and Trump has deployed military assets to the region.


Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron

Macron also met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday afternoon where they agreed with the US that Iran was responsible for the blasts at the Abqaiq and Khurais facilities. 

"There is no other plausible explanation," the leaders said in a joint statement.

But the three European countries, which remain part of the nuclear deal negotiated under former US president Barack Obama and are trying to salvage it said the solution was diplomacy.

"We urge Iran to engage in such a dialogue and refrain from further provocation and escalation," they said.