French President Emmanuel Macron made a strong push in meetings with President Trump today not abandon the Iran Nuclear Deal but instead pursue a “new deal with Iran.”
Many clients have asked whether the comments made by Trump and Macron at the White House press conference today changes our view that Iran oil sanctions will be reimposed in May.
The short answer is no. We didn’t see anything said today that would change the calculus on Trump’s upcoming decision on Iran oil sanctions.
Trump and Macron have very different opposing views on the nuclear deal. Macron has made it the centerpiece of his trip. Our view is that Trump is just giving the impression that he is listening to Macron so he doesn't come away empty handed.
In response to Macron suggesting a new effort for a side agreement on Iran in order to preserve the nuclear deal, Trump offered a polite “we’ll see.” Trump added: “We’re looking forward to doing something but it has to be done and it has to be done strongly.”
Some are interpreting Trump’s comments as perhaps reconsidering oil sanctions in May but our view is unchanged.
Moreover, Trump used some of his harshest language ever to denounce the nuclear deal calling it “terrible” and “insane” and “ridiculous.”
Trump also added a warning shot to Iran’s leaders who have publicly suggested they might resume the nuclear program. “They’re not going to be restarting anything,” Trump said. “If they restart it, they’re going to have big problems, bigger than they have ever had before. And you can mark it down. If they restart their nuclear program they will have bigger problems than they ever had before.”
These comments don’t sound like someone who is reconsidering his upcoming decision on Iran oil sanctions.
The will now be a flurry of activity over the next three weeks by the EU to try to show some progress on some additional sanctions or "new deal” on Iran. We doubt it will be enough for Trump to waive oil sanctions again.