US President Donald Trump says he is willing to meet Iranian leaders without preconditions to discuss how to improve ties after he pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying, “If they want to meet, we’ll meet.”
Asked at a White House news conference whether he was willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Mr Trump said: “I’d meet with anybody. I believe in meetings”, especially in cases where war is at stake.
On July 22, Mr Trump said in a tweet directed at Mr Rouhani: “Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence & death. Be cautious!”
A few hours earlier, Mr Rouhani had addressed Mr Trump in a speech, saying that hostile US policies could lead to “the mother of all wars”.
On Monday, Mr Trump, speaking at a news conference with visiting Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte, 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.”
Mr 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, Mr Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 international agreement designed to deny Tehran the ability to build nuclear agreements.
Since then Iran and other signatories have been working to find a way to salvage the agreement, even as the United States has begun reimposing some sanctions on Iran.