Mystery solved: Why Trump-Macron friendship tree vanished

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

It is generally agreed that a bird in the hand is worth two (or three, or more) in the bush.

French President Emmanuel Macron celebrated the special relationship between the USA and France during his state visit to Washington last week by planting a tree with President Donald Trump on the grounds of the White House.

Margaritis Schinas, spokesman for the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, said contacts were under way with Washington "at all levels" to try to head off a tariff tit-for-tat but warned the EU was ready to act, saying Brussels officials would even work on Tuesday's public holiday to tackle the issue.

"European leaders should encourage President Trump not just to stay in the nuclear deal, but more importantly to begin implementing his part of the bargain in good faith", he said on his official Twitter account.

So why did they all bother?

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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas this week tweeted: "The situation in the Middle East would become much more risky without the nuclear agreement with #Iran".

"One about the nuclear activity post 2025".

"I am for making sure Iran never has a nuclear weapon, but I don't want to see us isolate the United States from our allies", Cardin told the conference.

Diplomats in some European Union member states have started to worry that attempts to placate Trump could force them into self-defeating positions, thus reprising the relationship between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush in 2003.

Unfortunately for Iran, the country remained largely excluded from the world banking system because banks feared the re-imposition of the sanctions, and so much of the economic relief Iran expected from the end of sanctions never arrived.

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Speculation quickly followed. The Associated Press tweeted that a "mystery was brewing at the White House" over the missing sapling. However, the destruction of this "bad deal" was a campaign promise, and seems like, whether it makes sense or not, Trump will look to achieve it. It is an arms dealer to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

These are birds in the bush, and they were never within reach. There was no way that Iran was going to place its foreign, military and energy policies under United Nations supervision forever.

The first column is Iran's nuclear programme under the current accord.

Over the past few months, the German, French and British governments have been frantically assembling a package of measures-including potential sanctions on Iranian elites-to address Trump's concerns. But the real import of his visit, and that on Friday of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, lay in the substantive offers they made to Trump on transatlantic relations, trade and the Middle East. The definition of "denuclearization" will depend on whose narrative of the same prevails, the USA, which has recently indicated its disastrous policies towards Libya as a possible route that Washington D.C. takes with Pyongyang or Kim Jong Un's definition, which in all likeliness, will only include a cap on future building of warheads and missile testing and not dismantling its existing, usable infrastructure.

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