Trump, Merkel Confirm That Iran Deal Talks Continue; Oil Drops

While she certainly didn't display the same demonstrative warmth that French President Emmanuel Macron did during his meeting with President Trump early this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Trump had what was by all accounts a productive meeting on Friday.

And if the press conference that followed their three-hour summit had a key takeaway, it would be that, despite Trump's aggressive rhetoric, the Iran deal remains alive - for now, at least. This realization sent the price of WTI sinking in afternoon trade as oil bulls worried about Iranian supply, though WTI climbed 4.5% in April. 


Trump addressed the Iran deal in general terms, saying that the West must "ensure that this murderous regime does not even get close to a nuclear weapon." Reiterating remarks from earlier this week, Trump said Iran would not be restarting its nuclear program, "you can bank on it."

Merkel said that while the deal "isn't perfect", she said it's "part of a bigger Middle Eastern picture" and added that the signatories would continue to be involved in "very close talks" to try and preserve the deal.

Merkel said the JCPOA was discussed, and that the two sides were working on forging a deal that would assuage US concerns.

Turning to the subject of North Korea, Trump reiterated remarks from a press conference earlier in the day, saying that while he's looking forward to talks with North Korea, the US would not let the North "play" the Trump administration like the Kims have played previous administrations.

"I will be meeting with Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks, we look forward to that," he said, thanking Merkel for her help in the "maximum pressure" campaign on North Korea.

The president said they will "not repeat" the mistakes of past administrations.

In a meeting with Merkel before lunch, Mr. Trump said he doesn't think Kim is "playing," although other administrations were "played like a fiddle" because the U.S. had different leaders.

Trump also touched on the need for NATO nations to pay their fair share for national security costs born by the bloc, and also commented on Germany's trade surplus with the US.

Crucially, Merkel didn't give a direct answer about whether the US would extend an exemption for aluminum and steel tariffs for the European Union, which is set to expire early next month.