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Macron working to arrange meeting between US, Iran leaders

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Trump open to meeting under 'correct' circumstances

BIARRITZ, FRANCE French President Emannuel Macron said yesterday that preparations were under way for a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US President Donald Trump in the coming weeks to find a solution to the nuclear stand-off.

"Two things are very important for us: Iran must never have nuclear weapons, and this situation should never threaten regional stability," he told a news conference at the end of a meeting of G-7 leaders in Biarritz. He said discussions were under way to arrange a summit, Reuters reported.

"What I hope is that in coming weeks, based on these talks, we can manage to see a summit between President Rouhaini and President Trump."

Mr Trump and Mr Rouhani are both expected to be at the UN General Assembly in New York at the end of next month.

Mr Trump was ready to meet his Iranian counterpart if circumstances were "correct".

"If the circumstances were correct, I would certainly agree to that," he said during the joint press conference with Mr Macron, AFP reported.

This development comes after Mr Macron flew in Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the G-7 summit to reduce US-Iranian tensions.

European leaders have struggled to calm the deepening confrontation between Iran and the US since Mr Trump pulled Washington out of Teheran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the Iranian economy.

But Mr Macron has spent the summer trying to create conditions for a period of pause to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table. Mr Zarif held surprise talks with Mr Macron and British and German officials before returning home.

Though potentially a diplomatic minefield, Mr Macron's gamble with Mr Zarif appears to have worked out for now.

While Mr Trump reaffirmed Washington's goal of extracting more security concessions from Iran, he told reporters he wanted to see "a really good Iran, really strong, we're not looking for regime change". - REUTERS