“I’d meet with anybody. I believe in meetings,” especially in cases where war is at stake, Trump said at a White House news conference when asked whether he was willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
No U.S. president has met with an Iranian leader since the United States cut diplomatic relations with Tehran a year after the 1979 revolution that toppled the shah, a U.S. ally. President Barack Obama broke a three-decade freeze with a phone call to Rouhani in 2013.
There was no sign that Trump’s potential willingness to meet with his Iranian counterpart would mean any change in his administration’s intent to ratchet up sanctions and rhetoric against Tehran with the stated goal of “seeking changes in the Iranian government’s behavior.”
But Trump’s remarks did represent a marked softening in rhetoric from a week ago, when he lashed out at Rouhani in a tweet, saying “Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”
Shortly before that July 22 tweet, Rouhani had addressed Trump in a speech, saying that hostile U.S. policies could lead to “the mother of all wars.”
On Monday, speaking at a news conference with visiting Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte, Trump said: “I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet. I don’t know that they’re ready yet. I ended the Iran deal. It was a ridiculous deal. I do believe that they will probably end up wanting to meet and I’m ready to meet any time that they want to.”
Trump said he had “no preconditions” for a meeting with the Iranians, adding: “If they want to meet, I’ll meet.”
“If we could work something out that’s meaningful, not the waste of paper that the other deal was, I would certainly be willing to meet,” he added, noting that it would be good for the United States, Iran and the world.
In May, Trump withdrew the United States from the landmark 2015 international agreement designed to deny Tehran the ability to build nuclear weapons. Since then, Tehran’s clerical establishment has been under increasing U.S. pressure and the prospect of renewed sanctions.
Barely a week ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched a rhetorical assault on Iran’s leaders, comparing them to a “mafia” and promising unspecified backing for Iranians unhappy with their government.
Washington aims to force Tehran to end its nuclear program and its support of militant groups in the Middle East, where Iran is involved in proxy wars from Yemen to Syria.
Iran and other signatories have been working to find a way to salvage the nuclear agreement, even as the United States has begun reimposing some sanctions on Iran.
In spite of fierce verbal exchanges between Tehran and Washington in the recent weeks, Iranian authorities have kept the door to diplomacy open.
While warning the United States over waging a war against Iran, Rouhani also said last week that “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace”, leaving open the possibility of peace between the arch foes.
Hours before Trump’s statement, however, Tehran had poured cold water on talks with Washington.
“With current America and these policies, there will definitely not be the possibility of dialog and engagement, and the United States has shown that it is totally unreliable,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told a weekly news conference on Monday.
As the country’s economy falters and its currency slides, stirring street protests, Iranian figures familiar with policymaking say Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei could consider diplomacy with Washington and drink from “the chalice of poison,” a reference to the phrase used by his predecessor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini when he reluctantly agreed to a U.N.-mediated truce that ended the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
Economic hardship in Iran forced Khamenei to reluctantly back Rouhani’s efforts in securing the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
Oct 11, 2018 Comments Off on Mike Pompeo says Trump administration will leverage aid to Syria to remove Iranian troops
Oct 04, 2018 Comments Off on U.S. Withdrawing From Treaty With Iran After International Court of Justice Ruling
Oct 03, 2018 Comments Off on Execution of Kurdish child bride in Iran imminent, Amnesty International warns
Oct 02, 2018 Comments Off on US Warns Iran, Moves Diplomatic Personnel in Iraq
Oct 15, 2018 Comments Off on Iran sentences dual national to prison over spying
Oct 15, 2018 Comments Off on Iranian Authorities Deliberately Denying Political Prisoners Medical Care
Oct 12, 2018 Comments Off on We will take care of countries that will continue to buy oil from Iran after Nov 4: Donald Trump
Oct 12, 2018 Comments Off on IRGC Accused Of Masterminding Failed 1986 Terror Plot In Saudi Arabia
Oct 12, 2018 Comments Off on We will take care of countries that will continue to buy oil from Iran after Nov 4: Donald TrumpWe will take care of countries that will continue to buy oil from Iran after Nov 4: Donald Trump buy oil from Iran after Nov 4: Donald Trump WASHINGTON- The US will take care” of countries which defy its directive...
Oct 11, 2018 Comments Off on Mike Pompeo says Trump administration will leverage aid to Syria to remove Iranian troopsMike Pompeo says Trump administration will leverage aid to Syria to remove Iranian troops Mike Pompeo says Trump administration will leverage aid to Syria to remove Iranian troops Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the...
Jul 14, 2016 Comments Off on Corps’ one hundred thousand of triggered missiles in Lebanon:An official Israel-threatening by CorpsIran Briefing: Since August 7, 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini declared the last Friday of Ramadhan as “Quds Day”, the Islamic Republic has always tried to hold an imposing ceremony by using state resources as well as requiring people’s involvement. This year’s Quds march had fundamental...