France came very close to brokering a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York last week, the US-based news web site Politico reported on Tuesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron had put together a four-point document that would have served as the basis for the meeting, which could have launched talks toward a possible deal to eliminate the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Under Macron's plan, Tehran would have agreed to refrain from aggression, to not acquire nuclear weapons and to negotiate a long-term framework for its nuclear activity.

The US would lift its sanctions, including those leveled against Iran’s oil exports and its revenues. But Rouhani’s insistance that the US must first lifts its sanctions, caused the entire arrangement to fall apart.

Macron tried to arrange a phone call between the two leaders, but was not even able to do that, Politico reported.

It explained that a call had initially been planned for 9 p.m. last Tuesday, with Iranian technicians even setting up the equipment for such an exchange. Trump made himself available for the call, but Rouhani refused to get on the line. The New York Times and the New Yorker similarly reported on the failed phone call. The French effort comes amid escalating US-Iranian tensions.

Over the last two months, Trump has spoken of the possibility of a meeting with Rouhani.
At the UN last week, he told the General Assembly that, "America is ready to embrace friendship with all who genuinely seek peace and respect. Many of America’s closest friends today were once our gravest foes. The United States has never believed in permanent enemies. We want partners, not adversaries. America knows that while anyone can make war, only the most courageous can choose peace." He issued his statement, prior to Macron's attempts to place a call between the two leaders.

The next day, in his UN address Rouhani, clarified that his country would never negotiate while US sanctions were in place. "Our response to any negotiation under sanctions is negative," he said.

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