Putin, Macron Back Preservation of Iran Nuclear Deal

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the East Room of the White House on Friday

An oak tree given to the White House by French President Emmanuel Macron during last week's state visit has gone into "quarantine", officials said.

"Nobody knows what I'm going to do on the 12th", he said, turning to Macron and adding: "Though Mr President, you have a pretty good idea". Macron had hoped to convince Trump to stay in the deal, but said that after his conversations with the US leader, it appeared likely Trump would withdraw from the Obama-era accord on May 12, when a decision is due on whether to extend a suspension of sanctions against Iran.

France's Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Angela Merkel made their separate ways to Washington with a joint mission: to persuade president Donald Trump to stay in the Iran nuclear accord and grant the European Union a reprieve from U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium.

The statement was released after Mr. Macron called Mr. Putin to inform him of his talks with Mr. Trump in the United States. Surprisingly, the tree went missing after Macron addressed the potential threats posed by climate change at a joint session of the Congress. News photos from Saturday (April 28) show a patch of discolored grass where the tree stood only a few days earlier.

But many may not have even known there was a mystery at all, following the apparent disappearance of the sapling that was ceremonially planted by the two leaders and their wives last week during the state visit of France's president.

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Amid fervent speculation, France on Sunday came through with an explanation: the tree, now not just a plant but a symbol of US-French relations, had been placed in quarantine.

An official in Macron's office said Monday that Trump insisted on holding a symbolic planting ceremony alongside Macron despite the quarantine requirement.

It was feared parasites from the tree could spread to others on White House property.

Reuters reported that the tree grew near the "Devil Dog" fountain.

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