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French President Macron at the joint Whit House press conference on April 24, 2018. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

At a joint news conference today, French President Emmanuel Macron said he and President Trump had agreed to work on a “new deal” that includes the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran but incorporates additional measures.

What to watch: The enlarged deal would contain three more “pillars”: assurances that Iran cannot reconstitute a large nuclear program after certain JCPOA restrictions expire in 2025; limits on Iran’s ballistic missile development and transfers of weapons to regional proxies; and diplomacy to resolve the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

Trump did not confirm that he would renew sanctions waivers when the next deadline comes on May 12. He again excoriated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a “bad deal … [that] should never have been made." He would not commit to any course of action, saying “we’ll know fairly soon” what his decision will be. But he nodded as Macron spoke about a broader agreement and said that “we have very much in common” and that leadership required being “flexible.” The French president, who has developed the best rapport with Trump of any foreign leader, repeatedly put his hand on Trump’s arm as he outlined this broader approach.

Trump appears to be developing a new appreciation for allies in diplomatic and military affairs even if he continues to see U.S. regional intervention in largely transactional terms. Both Macron and Trump referred to France’s participation in rocket strikes against Syria after the regime there again used chemical weapons. This has helped cement a growing alliance with the United States.

Why it matters: Iran has threatened to leave the JCPOA and aggressively resume its uranium enrichment program if the U.S. does not renew sanctions waivers. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has also bitterly complained about what he sees as European efforts to appease a mercurial U.S. leader. But if the Macron charm offensive — augmented by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at week's end — works, Iran may also benefit.

Barbara Slavin directs the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

Go deeper

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.