French President Emmanuel Macron sparked heavy criticism after he unexpectedly invited Iran’s foreign minister to join other world leaders at the G7 Summit in France over the weekend.
Critics called out Macron’s surprise invitation to the controversial leader as “manipulative” and “disrespectful” to President Donald Trump and others attending the Group of Seven forum in the seaside town of Biarritz.
Former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley criticized Macron in a tweet on Sunday as French officials informed reporters that Trump was only told of the impending arrival of Mohammad Javad Zarif when he had lunch with Macron on Saturday, according to CNS News.
“Iran supports terrorism at every turn and continues to pursue ‘Death to America,’” Haley tweeted. “Manipulative of Macron to do this and very insincere. #NotWhatFriendsDo.”
This is completely disrespectful to @realDonaldTrump and the other leaders at the G7. Iran supports terrorism at every turn and continues to pursue “Death to America”. Manipulative of Macron to do this and very insincere. #NotWhatFriendsDo https://t.co/ujDe81c433
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) August 25, 2019
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham also tweeted his disappointment with Macron’s move.
If the French did in fact invite Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif to the G7 without consulting the US, it would be a signal of great weakness to Iran and terribly disrespectful to President Trump.
Hope President Trump maintains steady resolve against Iranian aggression.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) August 25, 2019
Macron has been trying to soften relations amid escalating tensions between Iran and the U.S. after Trump unilaterally pulled out of the multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal.
Trump pushed back on the French president’s efforts earlier this month.
….I know Emmanuel means well, as do all others, but nobody speaks for the United States but the United States itself. No one is authorized in any way, shape, or form, to represent us!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2019
Trump insisted that he was not caught off guard by Macron’s invitation to Zarif over the weekend.
“I knew he was coming in and I respected the fact that he was coming in. And we’re looking to make Iran rich again, let them be rich, let them do well, if they want,” Trump said. “Or they can be poor as can be. And I tell you what, I don’t think it’s acceptable the way they are being forced to live in Iran.”
“Let’s make Iran rich again,” says U.S. President Donald Trump, who added that he isn’t looking for a “regime change” in the country. “What we want (from #Iran) is very simple – it has got to be non-nuclear.” pic.twitter.com/21OlkkfQ2F
— CNBC International (@CNBCi) August 26, 2019
The president clarified that the U.S. is not interested in a regime change in Tehran. He also tweeted that “we are all laughing” at the “major case study of Fake News” by the media in reporting the conversations and events that took place at the meeting, though he was not more specific.
In France we are all laughing at how knowingly inaccurate the U.S. reporting of events and conversations at the G-7 is. These Leaders, and many others, are getting a major case study of Fake News at it’s finest! They’ve got it all wrong, from Iran, to China Tariffs, to Boris!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2019
Zarif arrived on Sunday and met with the French leader, posting photos on Twitter touting his visit.
“Iran’s active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues,” he tweeted. “Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying.”
Iran’s active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues.
Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying. pic.twitter.com/oXdACvt20T
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) August 25, 2019
The foreign minister also took a shot at “US efforts to destroy diplomacy.”
Despite US efforts to destroy diplomacy, met with French President @EmmanuelMacron and @JY_LeDriane in Paris today.
Interviewed with Euronews, AFP, & France24.
Multilateralism must be preserved.
Next stops Beijing, Tokyo & KL after a day in Tehran. pic.twitter.com/xfBN66SBly
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) August 23, 2019
Macron appeared to create some more confusion on Sunday when he noted that their was a “G7 mandate for Iran.”
“We agreed on what we wanted to say jointly on Iran,” he said, according to France 24.
But Trump appeared to contradict the French leader’s comments.
“No I haven’t discussed that,” he told reporters. “We’ll do our own outreach. But you can’t stop people from talking. If they want to talk, they can talk.”
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