US President Donald Trump has warned Iran that it will face “big problems” if it moves to restart its nuclear weapons programme.
President Trump was speaking in the Oval office after welcoming his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to the White house this afternoon.
The two men made a commitment to seek a new deal with Iran - after President Trump again called the current arrangement "insane."
President Macron told reporters that they had "very frank discussions" in private, adding we "wish from now on to work on a new deal with Iran.
The deal agreed with Tehran and six global powers restricts Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief on economic sanctions against the country.
All of the signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are nuclear-armed, except Germany.
Having great meetings and discussions with my friend, President @EmmanuelMacron of France. We are in the midst of meetings on Iran, Syria and Trade. We will be holding a joint press conference shortly, here at the @WhiteHouse. ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ðŸ‡«ðŸ‡· pic.twitter.com/ju1FXhgjaD
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2018
Questioned by a reporter this evening on the possibility of Iran re-launching its programme, President Trump said: “It won't be so easy for them to restart.”
"They're not going to be restarting anything. They restart it they're going to have big problems, bigger than they've ever had before.
"And you can mark it down - they restart their nuclear programme, they will have bigger problems than they've ever had before."
The US leader has previously called the landmark deal "one of the worst and most one-sided" agreements the US has ever signed.
He has threatened to walk away from it next month unless a better deal can be negotiated.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 24, 2018
Before leaving for the US, President Macron spoke to the Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone– with both men agreeing that the deal should be continued.
On arriving in Washington, he said the State visit was “very important for our people and very important for us.”
He said the current environment “with so many uncertainties, troubles and at times threats” highlighted the importance of the visit.
In a post on Twitter, the Iranian Foreign Minister urged European leader to support the agreement, warning that it is “either all or nothing.”
President Macron is correct in saying there's no "Plan B" on JCPOA. It's either all or nothing. European leaders should encourage President Trump not just to stay in the nuclear deal, but more importantly to begin implementing his part of the bargain in good faith.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 23, 2018
In an interview with NPR meanwhile, he warned that Iran will not negotiate any changes to the agreement, warning that any attempt to do so would be like opening Pandora’s Box.
While President Trump said he had promised his French counterpart that he would reconsider his pledge to walk away from the Iran he again labelled it a “disaster.”
"It is insane; it is ridiculous,” he said. “It should never have been made. But we will be talking about it."
In a tweet following the meeting President Macron wrote: “We are not tearing up an agreement to go nowhere.”
“We need to build a broader Iran agreement for the stability of the region.”
He said this afternoon’s exchange between the two leaders represented a “strong advance” and said they would now attempt to negotiate a new deal.
Image: Emmanuel Macron/Twitter
President Macron also wants to persuade his American counterpart to recommit to the Paris accord on climate change.
The US State Department has officially informed the United Nations that it will withdraw from the agreement.
President Trump has claimed it is uniquely unfair to the US – however he has left the door open to re-engaging if the terms are changed.