Two weeks ago, it seemed that Iran could find a way out by pointing out Mr. Trump's offer to negotiate. But the attacks on Saudi Arabia and the American accusations of Iranian involvement have almost nullified this possibility, American officials said promisingly until it attacks the oil facility, which it calls "Game Changer".
France's priorities have shifted from mediating a meeting between Tehran and Washington to trying to prevent a military conflict.
Meeting between Trump and Rouhani is not the main theme, "said Le Drian. "The overriding topic is whether we can resume a de-escalation path with the various actors."
All this can of course take place on both sides. For months, the Iranian elites have been signaling that the country has no choice but to deal with Mr. Trump. Mr. Zarif, who has spent much of his life in the United States, now predicts that the president is most likely not to be re-elected.
And Mr. Trump is circling between threatening military action and reiterating his claim that Iranians really want "a deal." His adjutants say Mr. Trump is episodically picturing the kind of leader-to-leader negotiations he has had with Kim Jong. Although, as a senior American diplomat recently noted, unlike Mr. Kim, the top Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, "do not hug and not write" free letters. (Mr. Trump's attempt to invite Mr. Zarif to the Oval Office by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky a few months ago failed.) Mr. Zarif said he would meet American leaders only for a profound conversation, "no photo op" of the kind held with Mr. Kim.)