Aug 25, 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif makes surprise visit to site of G7

Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived on Sunday at the site of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, at the invitation of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, officials confirmed.

Why it matters: Zarif is viewed as the "international face" of Iran's government and was sanctioned by the U.S. last month amid a recent escalation of tensions between the 2 countries. Zarif is not expected to meet with President Trump or any U.S. officials, though Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Fox News that the president has previously stated his willingness to sit down for talks with Iranian officials with "no preconditions."

The big picture: President Trump has found himself at odds with other G7 and Western leaders over his policies toward Iran. The Europeans in particular have clashed with the Trump administration as they struggle to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, which the U.S. pulled out of in 2018 in favor of a campaign of "maximum pressure" sanctions.

  • A senior French official told AP that Zarif was invited to the G7 in an effort to ease tensions over its nuclear program.
  • The official added that France "is working in full transparency with the U.S. and in full transparency with European partners."
  • "Iran's active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues. .. Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying," Zariff tweeted as he and Macron wrapped up their meeting on Sunday.

Go deeper: Expert Voices: Iran's defiance on display in recent missile tests

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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

5 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.