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Macron to raise Iran, climate, tariffs with Trump on 2nd day of US visit

Donald Trump and his wife Melania with Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

French President Emmanuel Macron was to hold a one-one-one meeting with Donald Trump on Tuesday after arriving in Washington on Monday for a state visit likely to be dominated by differences with the United States over trade and the nuclear accord with Iran.

On their sixth meeting the two men and their wives had a much-publicised private dinner at founding father George Washington's home, Mount Vernon.

They discussed the US economy, Trump's poll ratings and the preparation for mid-term elections in the US and combating terrorism and radicalisation, according to the Elysée presidential palace.

"100 years ago American soldiers fought for France," Macron tweets tree-planting

Earlier they wielded golden shovels to plant a sapling from the site of a World War I battle between US and German troops in the White House garden, a subtle message from Macron on the importance of environmental questions and the Paris climate agreement, which the US has withdrawn from since Trump's election.

"This visit is very important in our present context, with many uncertainties, mane troubles and at times many threats," Macron said. "The US and France both have a particular responsibility ... we are the guarantors of contemporary multilateralism and I believe that through these exchanges we have many decisions to take and prepare."

Iran nuclear deal

Among those decisions is what to do about the Iran nuclear accord, which Trump has promised to rip up when it comes up for renewal on 12 May.

As Macron landed in Washington, the Iranian government urged European leaders to convince the US leader not to do so.

The French president said on Sunday there was no “Plan B” for keeping a lid on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Macron has tried to develop a close relationship with Trump since he took office last May, he has so far seen few tangible results on issues from Iran to climate politics.

Tuesday should be a further test for that relationship.

The one-on-one meeting will be followed by a longer meeting that includes both leaders' aides.

Macron is expected to plead for an extension of the exemption for the EU from Trump's steel and aluminium tariffs, which ends on 1 May.

He will lunch with Vice-President Mike Pence and Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan and attend a ceremony at the Arlington military ceremony.

Melania Trump tweets about preparations for Tuesday's state dinner

This is the first state visit to the US by a foreign leader since Trump's election and there will be a sumptuous state dinner in the evening, the subject of an excited tweet by First Lady Melania Trump.