by WorldTribune Staff, July 31, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump on July 30 said he is willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with “no preconditions.”
“If they want to meet, we’ll meet,” Trump said. “I’d meet with anybody. I believe in meetings.”
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.”
Iran said it may be willing to talk if Trump returns the U.S. to the nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers, an aide to Rouhani said on July 31.
“Respecting the Iranian nation’s rights, reducing hostilities and returning to the nuclear deal are steps that can be taken to pave the bumpy road of talks between Iran and America,” tweeted Hamid Aboutalebi.
The last U.S. president to meet with an Iranian leader was Jimmy Carter, who in January 1978 met with Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The shah was overthrown during the Islamic Revolution on Feb. 11, 1979. The U.S. cut diplomatic relations with Iran a year after the revolution.
President Barack Obama broke a three-decade freeze with a phone call to Rouhani in 2013.
The White House said that Trump’s willingness to meet with Rouhani does not change his administration’s intent to reimpose sanctions after the U.S. withdrew from the nuclear deal. The sanctions are set to go into effect next week.
The White House said that even though the president “is open to dialogue and negotiation,” it did not mean the United States would lift sanctions or re-establish diplomatic and commercial relations.
“This relief is only possible if there are tangible, demonstrated, and sustained shifts in Teheran’s policies,” said Garrett Marquis, spokesman for the National Security Council. “Until then, the sting of sanctions will only grow more painful if the regime does not change course.”