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Trump says ready to meet with Iranian president without preconditions

02 August 2018

It's possible that Trump doesn't really want to meet with Iran's leaders.

Both U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have been going back and forth with written altercations.

"With current America and these policies, there will definitely not be the possibility of dialogue and engagement, and the United States has shown that it is totally unreliable", Qassemi said.

President Donald Trump's offer of dialogue with Tehran belies a hardening of US policy that intensifies economic and diplomatic pressure but so far stops short of using his military to more aggressively counter Iran and its proxies.

"I believe in meetings", the USA president told reporters at the White House.

There are many similar examples; what they all have in common is that the United States usually believes that it is too strong to ever offer Tehran any concessions and doing so would ultimately undermine America's standing.

Also on Tuesday, the USA president said he has "a feeling" the Iranians will "be talking to us pretty soon".

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The "president wants to meet with folks to solve problems", he told CNBC.

Mike Pompeo, the USA secretary of state, appeared to contradict Mr Trump on Tuesday when he said the U.S. had several preconditions before talks. Rhetoric out of Iran has ratcheted up since Trump's decision in May to withdraw the USA from the nuclear accord and reinstate sanctions.

The Fars news agency, believed to be close to Iran's hardline elite Revolutionary Guard, in July distributed an op-ed from the Sobh-e No daily newspaper describing the government as too ready to "bow down to foreign threats".

A few weeks later, I interviewed the Iranian foreign minister during one of the round of talks in Europe and asked the same question, trying to find out how the centrifuge issue likely would be resolved.

Trump condemned the deal in part because it did not cover Iran's ballistic missile program and involvement in Middle East conflicts.

Rouhani's chief of staff claimed earlier this month in Iran's state-owned newspaper that Rouhani had rejected eight requests from Trump for one-on-one talks past year.

"With the contemptuous statements (Trump) addressed to Iran, the idea of negotiating is inconceivable".

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Rouhani also held a separate meeting with Iranian ambassadors to 14 countries, including Poland, Japan, Vatican, Italy, Ireland, Slovenia, Finland, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Mali, Colombia, Bulgaria, and the Permanent Ambassador and Representative of Iran to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

"Good for the country, good for them, good for us and good for the world".

Under the 2015 deal, the fruit of Rouhani's efforts to ease Iran's global isolation to help revive its economy, Iran curbed its nuclear program and won relief from United Nations and Western sanctions in return.

He had said "Never, ever threaten the US again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before".

Trump noted his recent one-on-one discussions with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin as examples of his direct diplomacy with leaders deemed hostile to US interests.

With regard to Iran, Trump seems to pursue a similar good cop/bad cop approach.

Analysts do not expect a Trump-Rouhani meeting anytime soon, pointing out that Trump has, for some time, been seeking to meet Rouhani directly without success.

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Many in Iran are therefore suspicious of his latest volte-face. The overture comes as Trump and the Iranians have been escalating their rhetoric after Trump's May withdrawal from the landmark nuclear accord.

Trump says ready to meet with Iranian president without preconditions