French President Emmanuel Macron told a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday that France will not leave the Iran nuclear deal and urged Washington to remain committed to the agreement.
"There is an existing framework called the JCPOA to control the nuclear activity of Iran," Macron said, using the official acronym for the deal. "We signed it, at the initiative of the United States. We signed it, both the United States and France. That is why we cannot say we should get rid of it like that."
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"It is true to say that this agreement may not address all concerns and very important concerns—this is true," Macron added. "But we should not abandon it without having something substantial and more substantial instead. That's my position. That's why France will not leave the JCPOA, because we signed it."
During his address, Macron also vowed that "Iran shall never possess any nuclear weapons," prompting loud applause from both Republicans and Democrats.
"As for Iran, our objective is clearer: Iran shall never possess any nuclear weapons," Macron said. "Not now, not in five years, not in 10 years, never."
Macron said that he and President Donald Trump should work on a "more comprehensive deal" addressing all of the concerns about the nuclear deal. The French president explained that four pillars should serve as the foundation for this plan: "the substance" of the existing nuclear deal; the JCPOA's sunset clauses, key restrictions on Tehran's nuclear program that are set to expire in about a decade; containing the Iranian regime's military influence in the Middle East; and monitoring Iran's ballistic-missile program.
France was a party to the nuclear deal, which it, the U.S. under the Obama administration, and four other world powers struck with Iran in 2015. The deal curbs Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.