Report: Macron Brokered Document Between Rohani and Trump, but Iranian President Balked

The 4-point document, seen by Politico, sought to have the U.S. lift sanctions in return for Iranian commitment to not acquire nuclear weapons

French President Emmanuel Macron shaking hands with Iranian President Hassan Rohani after meeting at the UN headquarters in New York, September 23, 2019.
AFP

U.S. President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rohani had agreed to a four-point document that was mediated by French President Emmanuel Macron as a basis for a meeting as well as a revival of talks between Washington and Tehran, American magazine Politico reported on Tuesday. 

Citing French officials, the report said that the document didn't bear fruit because the Iranian president balked. Rohani had insisted that Trump declare he would lift U.S. sanctions as a precondition for a meeting. Macron also tried to arrange a phone call between the two leaders as an alternative for the meeting, but Rohani declined, the report added. 

Despite their failure to broker contacts between the U.S. and Iran, French officials told Politico they were undeterred. "The alternative is a major conflict in the Gulf," one official was quoted as saying. 

The breakthrough did not happen after Rohani insisted that Trump would clarify before a meeting that U.S. sanctions will be lifted, a French official told Politico. 

The four-point document, which was formulated through ongoing efforts by Macron on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, asserted that Tehran would have to agree to "never acquire a nuclear weapon" and "fully comply with its nuclear obligations and commitments and will accept a negotiation of a long-term framework for its nuclear activities." 

While Iran's ballistic program was not brought up in the text, which was obtained by Politico, a French official familiar with the talks had said that "it was clear to all that the negotiations over regional issues would necessarily include their ballistic program." 

The U.S., on its part, was required to commit to "lift all sanctions re-imposed since 2017," returning to Iran the "full ability to export its oil and freely use its revenues." 

Macron's attempt to design such an agreement between the sparring powers comes amid increasing efforts to position himself as peacemaker and restore France's international status as powerbroker. 

The French president and his team offered the sides to hold a telephone meeting at 9 P.M. on Tuesday but the Iranians didn't agree to the call, a French official told Politico. "We set up the gear with the approval of the Iranians... the technicians arrived, the Iranians let them set up, they assisted them, there was no problem." But when Macron returned to Rohani's qurarters later in the evening, the Iranian president refused to participate in the call. 

The French official said that Macron then "spoke to Trump on the secure line and told him what happened and thanked him for his openness and his willingness to negotiate."

U.S. officials were not available to comment on the report. Iranian officials could not be reached for comment.