On the heels of his historic summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he hopes to negotiate a “real deal” with Iran over its nuclear program after Washington’s renewed, “brutal” sanctions kick in.
The US president also said the Islamic Republic was “a different country” as compared to several months ago due to his decision to withdraw from the 2015 accord.
“I hope that, at the appropriate time, after the sanctions kick in — and they are brutal what we’ve put on Iran — I hope that they’re going to come back and negotiate a real deal because I’d love to be able to do that. But right now it’s too soon to do that,” Trump told reporters after meeting Kim.
“I think Iran is a different country now than it was three or four months ago,” he added. “I don’t think they’re looking so much to the Mediterranean, I don’t think they’re looking so much at Syria like they were, with total confidence, I don’t think they’re so confident right now.”
Iran said Monday that North Korea should be wary of negotiating with Trump in light of his withdrawal from the landmark agreement, which the Obama administration had reached with Iran, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said that North Korea should approach the summit with “awareness.” He said Iran views Trump and the United States with “great pessimism,” saying they are known for “quitting treaties and violating their commitments.”
Israeli ministers, meanwhile, have welcomed the Trump-Kim summit for the message it sends to Iran.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told The Associated Press that North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons would send a “strong” signal to Iran. He said it would “increase the pressure on Iran” to give up its nuclear infrastructure and capabilities.
Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear deal on May 8. The agreement required Iran to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for relief from international sanctions.
Following his withdrawal from the pact, Trump has announced the restoration of US sanctions, while European leaders are trying to preserve the deal.
Trump added in his remarks on Tuesday that the deal “cannot be renegotiated in any way.”
Iran has said it will ramp up its uranium enrichment capabilities and last week opened a new facility geared toward producing enrichment centrifuges that will operate within the limits of the nuclear deal.
The US president’s comment on Iranian “confidence” over Syria comes as Israel has repeatedly vowed it will not tolerate Tehran’s military presence in Syria and has carried out airstrikes on targets in the country. Israel fears that as the Syrian civil war winds down, Iran, whose forces and Shiite proxies have backed Syrian President Bashar Assad, will turn its focus on Israel.