President Donald Trump said Monday that French President Emmanuel Macron notified him in advance that a top Iranian diplomat would be invited to the G-7 summit of rich nations in southwest France.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s surprise arrival on Sunday, the second day of the three-day summit, came at the invitation of France amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

But Trump said Zarif’s appearance wasn’t a surprise to him. Trump said Macron told him he had extended the invitation and asked for his approval.

“I knew everything he was doing,” Trump said of Macron.

Zarif did not meet with Trump or other U.S. officials while he was in France, but he did meet with Macron. “I thought it was too soon to meet,” Trump said. “I said I don’t want to meet right now.”’

Asked what happens next, Trump said, “We’ll see what happens. It’s all very new.”

Trump said he is not looking for regime change in Iran.

“We’re looking to make Iran rich again,” he said. “Let them do well, if they want. Or they can be poor as can be. … I don’t think it’s acceptable the way they’re being forced to live.”
France and other members of the G-7 are seeking to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement signed by President Barack Obama. Honoring a campaign pledge, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement last year. Though he touts that move on the campaign trail, Trump’s decision represented a major break with other U.S. allies.

Late Sunday, Zarif tweeted photos of himself meeting with Macron on the sidelines of the G-7.

“Iran’s active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues,” he wrote. “Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying.”

Source » usatoday