SHAFAQNA – It would be very hard for Iran’s political leaders to meet with Trump, given his opposition to the nuclear accord they spent years negotiating, his travel ban that effects many Iranians interested in studying or working in the U.S. and his rhetoric against the government.
US president Donald Trump said Monday he would be willing to meet Iranian leaders “whenever they want,” emphasizing that he would hold such a summit with “no preconditions”.
“If they want to meet, we’ll meet,” Trump said during a press conference at the White House, Reuters reported. “I’d meet with anybody. I believe in meetings, especially in cases where war is at stake.”
According to Newsweek President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the White House on July 30.
Trump comments come after an intense war of words between Washington and Tehran a week ago. On July 22, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Trump not to “play with fire.”
“America should know peace with Iran is the mother of all peace,” the Iranian leader said. However, he went on to threaten that “war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”
In response, Trump posted an all-caps tweet, warning Rouhani to “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”
Tensions have increased between Washington and Tehran following Trump’s May decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, often referred to as the Iran nuclear deal.
After the comment, secretary of state Mike Pompeo appeared to contradict Trump, listing preconditions that had to be met first. He told CNBC on Monday “If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes in how they treat their own people, reduce their malign behaviour, can agree that it’s worthwhile to enter in a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation, then the president said he’s prepared to sit down and have a conversation with him”.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported US plan against Iran
On July 26, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported that unidentified top government officials said that the U.S. was seriously planning to launch strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, even as early as next month. The sources told the ABC that the Australian government was ready to help Washington identify the appropriate targets.
However, Australia’s prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, quickly denied the report.
Previous reports have also suggested that Trump has gone to significant lengths to meet with Iranian leaders.
US sanctions in next month
According to Bloomberg, some U.S. sanctions on Iran are due to kick in next month, while more serious penalties targeting countries with companies importing Iranian oil take effect in November.
Meeting with trump would be very hard
Politically, however, many analysts say it would be very hard for Iran’s political leaders to meet with Trump, given his opposition to the nuclear accord they spent years negotiating, his travel ban that effects many Iranians interested in studying or working in the U.S. and his rhetoric against the government.
A White House official said the administration doesn’t expect Iran to seek a meeting.
“The biggest obstacle to a U.S.-Iran dialogue is not Trump but Ayatollah Khamenei,” Karim Sadjadpour, a senior fellow in the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The New York Times earlier this month. “Trump flew halfway around the world to meet with Kim Jong Un”.
Theater or little more than theater
Monday’s olive branch from Trump marks an abrupt shift in tone, and may be little more than theater with US midterm elections looming on the horizon, CNN reported.
The President has been a strident critic of Iran, threatening the regime with “consequences” as recently as July 22, while his administration pursues a strategy that many see as regime change in all but name.
The President and his senior officials have ramped up the rhetoric against Tehran, promising to “crush” its economy with international sanctions and accusing it of fomenting terrorism and regional instability.
Trump has suggested in the past that financial pressure will eventually bring Tehran to the table. Iran’s leaders have shown little interest in engaging with the US.
It’s not clear whether Iran would accept any proposed meeting, particularly given the threats the president has issued.
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