Having failed to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to stay in the Iran nuclear accord, French President Emmanuel Macron is reaching out to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Macron heads to St. Petersburg on Thursday amid deep differences with Putin over Syria, Ukraine and alleged Russian meddling abroad. But both men want to salvage the Iranian nuclear deal.

Macron's aides insist he is not cozying up to Putin, or seeking to pivot away from France's longstanding alliance with the U.S.

Rather, they say Macron wants to keep a dialogue open to help solve world crises. And the Iran issue marks the first time that Russia, France and Germany agree on such a major matter in years.

Macron and Putin will also discuss economic ties despite sanctions over Russia's annexation of Crimea.