Iran summit? Columnist says Trump-Khamenei sit-down would be instructive

by WorldTribune Staff, June 19, 2018

Though Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is nearly certain to reject it, U.S. President Donald Trump should nonetheless offer to meet with Iran’s supreme leader “as it would show the Iranian people and the world who the real peacemaker is,” a columnist wrote.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

“Such an offer isn’t as fanciful as it sounds, and could put useful pressure on the Iranian regime,” David Pollock, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute, wrote for the Wall Street Journal on June 18.

In a May 21 speech on the Trump administration’s Iran policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo endorsed the North Korea analogy: “If anyone, especially the leaders of Iran, doubts the President’s sincerity or his vision, let them look at our diplomacy with North Korea.”

Trump has previously announced his willingness to negotiate directly with Iran.

In Iran, Pollock noted, “reactions to the Trump-Kim summit appear sharply divided. The regime warned before the event that Trump couldn’t be trusted, based on his withdrawals from both the Iran nuclear deal and this year’s Group of 7 declaration. But many Iranian citizens see the Singapore meeting as a positive precedent.”

The silence of Iran’s official media about the Trump-Kim summit suggests the Iranian regime “recognizes the popular desire for a similar approach,” Pollock wrote.

“In the unlikely event Khamenei accepted such an invitation, his perception of his own leverage would likely lead him to attach onerous conditions,” Pollock wrote. “That would allow the U.S. to scuttle the proposal while maintaining its openness to unconditional talks.”

If a Trump-Khamenei summit did happen, “it would provide an opportunity to restate difficult yet fully justified demands beyond any nuclear deal, and to show the Iranian people their leaders’ true priorities,” Pollock wrote.

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