News Code: 2754

Date of Release: 2018-07-31

Trump says ready to meet Iranian leaders without preconditions

US President Donald Trump said on Monday he’s willing to meet with Iranian leaders without preconditions amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran. “It’s good for the country, good for them, good for us and good for the world. No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet,” Trump said at a joint press conference […]

US President Donald Trump said on Monday he’s willing to meet with Iranian leaders without preconditions amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.

“It’s good for the country, good for them, good for us and good for the world. No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet,” Trump said at a joint press conference with the Italian prime minister.

“And I’m ready to meet any time they want to. And I don’t do that from strength or from weakness. I think it’s an appropriate thing to do,” he said.

Trump’s openness to a dialogue with Iran comes a week after he issued an all-caps warning to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that he would face “consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered” if he threatened the US.

His tweet came in response to Rouhani’s comments to Iranian diplomats that war with Iran is “the mother of all wars.” He also left the door open to peace talks, saying peace with Iran is “the mother of all peace.”

It’s not clear whether Iran would accept any proposed meeting, particularly given the threats the US president has issued. In July, Rouhani’s Chief of Staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, said that Trump had asked eight times for a meeting with Rouhani, and was rejected each time.

Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May after failing to marshal international support for a tougher approach to the Middle Eastern country. The European Union is trying to salvage the accord, which placed limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

“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,” Trump said, pointing out that it would be good for the United States, Iran and the world.

In pulling out of the agreement, the Trump administration restored wide-ranging sanctions on Iran. His administration is pushing oil buyers to stop purchasing crude from Iran, the world’s fifth largest oil producer, by Nov. 4.

The ultimatum — cut Iranian crude imports to zero or face US sanctions — has ratcheted up tension in recent weeks. Iran has threatened to shut down the world’s busiest sea lane for oil shipments.

Trump cited his administration’s negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian leader Vladimir Putin as examples of his successful bilateral negotiations.

“As you know, with Chairman Kim we haven’t had a missile fired in nine months, we got our prisoners back, so many things have happened so positive,” the president said. Trump said his summit with Putin was a “great meeting in terms of the future.”

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