French President Emmanuel Macron is pushing for a mechanism whereby Iran would be offered a significant credit line – Iran is angling for $15bn – to be secured against future oil deliveries. In return Iran would accept further limits on its nuclear program and (in theory) its regional activities. Crucially, both US President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rohani have indicated that they are receptive.

But the details are far from hammered out. And, of course getting Macron, Iran’s relatively liberal President Rohani and his urbane foreign minister Javad Zarif to agree is one thing. Even Mr Trump, for all his bellicose rhetoric, finds it difficult to resist talk of a breakthrough deal for which he can potentially claim the credit. But if progress continues to be made, he will no doubt encounter pushback from more fundamentally anti-Iran members of his administration such as National Security Advisor John Bolton. Getting the more hard-line factions in Tehran – including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – on board may prove more challenging still. (CONTINUED - 1140 WORDS)