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Trump Says He Approved Iran Diplomat's G7 Visit

He says there was 'great unity' at conference
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2019 7:47 AM CDT
This photo from the Twitter account of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, shows French President Emmanuel Macron, third left, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian, second left, meeting...   (Twitter account of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif via AP)
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(Newser) – President Trump said Monday that there was "great unity" among G7 leaders—even on Iran, whose foreign minister arrived in Biarritz for talks Sunday. "We've had a lot of fake news where they're saying, ‘Oh there’s no unity, there’s no unity.’ There’s total unity," Trump said Monday, speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He said there had been "a lot of progress made on Iran" and "the biggest part of the conclusion, they can’t have nuclear weapons," the Washington Post reports. When Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif unexpectedly arrived in the city Sunday afternoon, it initially seemed as if French President Emmanuel Macron, this year's G7 host, had pulled off an "end run" around Trump amid major disagreements on Iran policy, CNN reports.

Trump, however, denied reports that he had been "blindsided" by Zarif's arrival. He said that rather than being surprised or angry at the move, he approved the invitation when Macron asked him about it, the AP reports. "I said if you want to do that, that's OK. I don't consider that disrespectful at all. Especially when he asked me for approval," Trump said. Zarif spent around four hours in Biarritz, including an hour-long meeting with Macron, but did not meet with Trump, the Guardian reports. "I thought it was too soon to meet," Trump told reporters Monday. "I said I don't want to meet right now." Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that he is open "in principle" to meeting his American counterpart. "If I know that meeting with a person will resolve the problem of my country, I will not hesitate because national interests are the main principle," he said. (Read more Group of Seven stories.)

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