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Trump, Macron To Discuss Iran Nuclear Deal As Deadline Nears

French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with President Donald Trump during his U.S. visit (file photo).

A senior U.S. administration official has told reporters that President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss the Iran nuclear agreement at the White House when they meet next week.

In a briefing, the official on April 20 said Trump would also discuss other issues with the French leader, including the countries’ joint military strike on Syria conduced in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack near Damascus.

Macron is scheduled to be in the United States from April 23-25 and will address a joint session of Congress on his final day.

Trump has threatened to pull out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal signed by the U.S. and other world powers and Iran. The deal provided Tehran with relief from financial sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Trump has set a May 12 deadline to either improve or scrap the accord, which was negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Trump accuses Tehran of violating the spirit of the nuclear deal and called on European powers to "fix" what he says are the "terrible flaws" of the agreement. He wants new restrictions to be imposed on Tehran's nuclear and missile programs.

U.S. allies have urged Trump to remain in the deal, known as the JCPOA, saying it is the best way to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

"The Europeans…have been working hard in trying to address some of our most important or prominent concerns having to do with Iran's ballistic missile program, for example, the sunset clause in the JCPOA and so on," the senior administration official said.

"That work is not quite done yet," the official added.

Robert Wood, the U.S. disarmament ambassador, said on April 19 that the United States was having "intense" discussions with the Britain, France, and Germany ahead of the May 12 deadline when Trump must either sign a waiver or allow sanctions against Iran to resume.

Tehran has vowed to remain in the deal as long as the other parties respect it, but will "shred" it if Washington leaves.

"Iran has several options if the United States leaves the nuclear deal. Tehran's reaction to America's withdrawal of the deal will be unpleasant," Iranian state TV quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying.

With reporting by Reuters and CNN