Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit in Biarritz on the Iran nuclear deal.

During a surprise visit to the summit, Mr Zarif also met French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, as well as German and British officials, for talks on de-escalating tensions with the US. 

Following the talks, Mr Zarif said the road ahead was difficult but was worth trying. 

French officials said the talks were positive and said the decision to invite Mr Zarif was taken in agreement with the US.

Earlier Mr Macron said he had not been given a formal mandate from G7 leaders to pass messages to Iran, but that he would continue to hold talks with Tehran in the coming weeks to defuse tensions.

"We had a discussion yesterday on Iran and that enabled us to establish two common lines: no member of the G7 wants Iran to get a nuclear bomb and all the members of the G7 are deeply attached to stability and peace in the region," Mr Macron said, adding that both he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had taken initiatives on Iran.

"But there is no formal G7 mandate that is given so there are initiatives that will continue to be taken to reach these two objectives," he said after a French presidential source had earlier said G7 leaders agreed Mr Macron should hold talks and pass on messages to Iran.

Biarritz's airport has been closed for the duration of the summit from yesterday until tomorrow.

An Iranian official said Mr Zarif will not hold talks with US President Donald Trump or his delegation.

European leaders have struggled to calm a deepening confrontation between Iran and the United States since Mr Trump pulled his country out of Iran's internationally brokered 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the Iranian economy.

Earlier, Mr Trump appeared to brush aside French efforts to mediate with Iran, saying that while he was happy for Paris to reach out to Tehran to defuse tensions he would carry on with his own initiatives.

France said G7 leaders had agreed that President Macron should hold talks and pass on messages to Iran.

However, Mr Trump, who has pushed a maximum pressure policy on Iran, distanced himself from the proposal, saying he had not even discussed it.

When asked about reports that the Iranian foreign minister was coming to Biarritz, Mr Trump said "no comment".

Japan and US agree trade deal

Mr Trump and Mr Abe announced a deal in principle on a major bilateral trade deal.

"It's a very big transaction," Mr Trump said after talks with Mr Abe on the sidelines of the G7 summit in the French resort town of Biarritz.

"Billions and billions of dollars," he said.

"It involves agriculture, it involves e-commerce. It involves many things. We've agreed in principle."

Mr Abe confirmed the two nations had "successfully reached consensus" after "intense" negotiations.

Both leaders said they hoped for a formal signing during the UN General Assembly in New York next month.

However, Mr Abe cautioned: "We still have some remaining work that has to be done... mainly finalising the wording."

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the agreement will especially benefit US farmers - a politically important group for Mr Trump in his uphill push for reelection in 2020.

Asked whether US tariffs already imposed on Japanese cars would be scrapped as a result of the deal, Mr Lighthizer said some tariffs would be removed "but not those."

Mr Trump also said the tariffs were "staying the same" but would not go up.

Differences over North Korea missiles launches

Meanwhile, Mr Trump and Mr Abe displayed their differences over the seriousness of North Korea's series of short-range missile launches, while maintaining that they would remain in sync on the issue.

Mr Trump, who prizes his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, said the launches did not violate an agreement and were in line with what others were doing.

Mr Abe said the launches violated UN resolutions.

Launches of short-range ballistic missiles yesterday were the seventh by North Korea since Mr Trump and Mr Kim met at the inter-Korean border in June.

The launches have complicated attempts to restart talks between US and North Korean negotiators over the future of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

Growing worries over global economic downturn

The US President Trump said he was getting along well with his Western allies at the summit, dismissing reports of rifts among leaders as they prepared to discuss global trade woes.

The G7 gathering is taking place against a backdrop of growing worries about a global economic downturn and coincides with an era of international disunity across an array of issues that have strained decades-old allegiances.

"Before I arrived in France, the Fake and Disgusting News was saying that relations with the 6 others countries in the G-7 are very tense, and that the two days of meetings will be a disaster," Mr Trump wrote on Twitter shortly before meeting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"Well, we are having very good meetings, the Leaders are getting along very well, and our Country, economically, is doing great - the talk of the world!"

However, major policy differences over trade protectionism, climate change, Iran and France's push for a universal tax on digital technology giants clouded the run-up to the summit.

Mr Trump arrived in France just hours after escalating his trade war with China in a tit-for-tat battle between the world's two largest economies that has spooked financial markets.

"I am very worried about the way it's going, the growth of protectionism, of tariffs that we're seeing," Mr Johnson said yesterday.

"Those who support the tariffs are at risk of incurring the blame for the downturn in the global economy, irrespective of whether or not that is true."

Underlining the discord, Mr Trump also threatened his host on the eve of the summit, saying the United States would tax French wine "like they've never seen before" unless Paris dropped a digital tax on US technology companies.

US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the summit

Leaping into the fray, European Council President Donald Tusk, who takes part in the G7 discussions, warned the EU would respond "in kind" if Mr Trump acted on his threat.

"This may be the last moment to restore our political community," Mr Tusk told reporters, giving a bleak assessment of Western relations.

Looking to broaden the scope of the debate, Mr Macron has invited several African leaders to discuss the problems facing their continent, while leaders from India, Australia, Chile and Spain are due to attend a dinner today where the focus will be on the environment and other issues.

Mr Trump up-ended last year's G7 summit in Canada, walking out of the meeting early and disassociating himself from the final communique having initially endorsed the document.

The delegations had barely arrived in Biarritz before differences were exposed, with senior US officials accusing the host, President Macron, of looking "to fracture the G7" by focusing on "niche issues" rather than major global concerns.

France denied this, pointing to today's initial session covering the economy, trade and security - areas that used to draw easy consensus but are now sources of great friction.

Overnight, Mr Trump wrote on Twitter that lunch with Mr Macron was the best meeting the pair had yet had, and that a meeting with world leaders yesterday evening also "went very well."

France has got around the communique problem by doing away with the time-honoured document, deciding it was not worth even trying to find common language.

While the transatlantic rift is the most stark, there are also deep divisions within the European camp, with Mr Johnson making his G7 debut at a time when he is struggling to persuade EU capitals to renegotiate Britain's exit from the bloc.

Mr Johnson and Mr Tusk sparred ahead of the meeting over who would take the blame if Britain leaves the EU on 31 October without a Brexit agreement acceptable to both sides.

"I still hope that PM Johnson will not like to go down in history as Mr No Deal," said Mr Tusk, who leads the political direction of the 28-nation EU.

Mr Johnson later retorted that it would be Mr Tusk himself who would carry that mantle if Britain could not secure a new withdrawal agreement.

Mr Macron added to the internal EU strains by unexpectedly threatening on Friday to block an EU trade deal with a group of South American states over Brazil's handling of fires that are ravaging the Amazon rainforest.

Germany and Britain both voiced deep concern about the fires, but disagreed with Mr Macron on how to respond, saying shooting down the ambitious Mercosur trade accord would not help save the Amazon.