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Macron hopes for Iran progress at UN assembly

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French President Emmanuel Macron held out hope of a breakthrough in the dispute between Iran and the United States as world leaders gathered Monday in New York for the UN General Assembly.

But Macron admitted that the attack widely blamed on Iran that hit a Saudi oil complex on September 14 had heightened instability in the Middle East.

“Did the chances of a meeting increase with these strikes? No, we have to be clear, we can see that things are getting tense,” he told reporters late Sunday on his flight to New York.

“The two main players are there,” he said, referring to the presence of the US and Iranian leaders at the United Nations this week. “But something can happen.”

Macron is expected to hold meetings with US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the coming days.

But a meeting between Trump and Rouhani appeared unlikely.

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

“If the US is ready to end sanctions and come back to the conditions of the nuclear agreement, the way would be open for us to make a decision,” Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Monday.

“One of these decisions could be negotiations.”


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