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Trump says France's Macron "asked me for approval" of Iranian envoy's G-7 visit

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif poses for a photograph during an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP) at the residence of Iranian Ambassador in Paris, Aug. 23, 2019. Getty

President Trump said Monday that he wasn't surprised when French President Emmanuel Macron invited Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to visit the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France. Macron invited Zarif, who was recently sanctioned by the Trump administration, in a bid to open talks aimed at lowering tensions between the West and the Islamic Republic.

Mr. Trump said he did not want to get into when Macron talked to him about Zarif. He said: "He asked me. I don't consider that disrespectful at all, especially when he asked me for approval."

For several months, Macron has assumed a lead role in trying to save the 2015 international nuclear accord with Iran, which has been unraveling since Mr. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement.

President Trump had curtly told reporters he had "no comment" on Zarif's presence over the weekend, with officials saying the White House wasn't aware in advance of the invitation to Zarif.

Mr. Trump's comments came Monday as he met with world leaders at the G-7 (Group of Seven) summit of wealthy nations in France.

The impact of Trump's sanctions inside Iran

Zarif interrupted a scheduled trip to Asia to visit France, and by Monday he had resumed his itinerary. He was on a tour of Asia seeking support for his country amid the American "maximum pressure" campaign against it since Mr. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear deal.  

The top Iranian diplomat visited France as fissures emerged among G-7 leaders over how to deal with his country's nuclear ambitions.  

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