Iran nuclear deal tops agenda for Macron's U.S. visit

Last Updated Apr 24, 2018 6:55 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- President Trump is hosting French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House and at the top of their agenda is the future of the Iran nuclear deal, which Mr. Trump has threatened to scrap. As the two presidents met Tuesday, Mr. Trump had a warning for Iran.

"They're not gonna be restarting anything," Mr. Trump said.

He was referring to a threat by Iran's foreign minister Sunday on "Face the Nation" with moderator Margaret Brennan.

Brennan asked Mohammad Javad Zarif if he was ready to restart the nuclear program if Mr. Trump puts sanctions back on Iran even if the rest of the world says not to do it.

"Obviously the rest of the world cannot ask us to unilaterally and one sidedly implement a deal that has already been broken," Zarif said.

"They restart their nuclear problem, they will have bigger problems than they have ever had before," Mr. Trump reiterated.

It's a tough issue for Macron who's trying to persuade Mr. Trump to stay in the deal, arguing there is no "plan b" for stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

After meeting with Macron, Mr. Trump seemed open to a possible compromise being worked out by European allies.

"There is a chance, and nobody knows what I'm going to do," he said.

Mr. Trump had kind words for North Korea's Kim Jong Un, who already has nuclear weapons.

"He really has been very open and I think very honorable from everything we're seeing," Mr. Trump said.

That's a stark contrast from his previous comments last fall.

"Little Rocket Man, a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people," Mr. Trump said at the time. "A sick puppy."

The change is a reflection of how badly Mr. Trump wants to meet with Kim, although he also tried to lower expectations for the meeting

"Maybe it will be wonderful, and maybe it won't," he said.

The news on Iran and North Korea came on a day otherwise filled with pomp for the official arrival of Macron, who Mr. Trump calls a special friend.

Mr. Macron will speak Wednesday before a joint meeting of Congress where he is expected once again to argue that the United States should stay in the Iran nuclear deal. But in the end it's not up to Congress, it will be up to his good friend, Mr. Trump.

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.