WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump said Monday he was willing to meet with Iran’s leaders at anytime and without any preconditions, just one week after dramatically threatening the country.
The president — who has defied American foreign policy orthodoxy by meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Um — indicated he was prepared to do the same with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, should his counterpart want such a tête-à-tête.
“I would certainly meet with Iran if they’re ready to meet,” Trump said during a White House press conference, adding that he was willing to do so with “no preconditions.”
In May, Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal forged under the Obama administration and with five other world powers, a move that sets in motion a renewal of sanctions against Iran that were removed once the landmark accord was implemented in January 2016.
Those sanctions are now set to be reimposed in November, causing more than 50 international firms to exit the Iranian market, according to State Department policy and planning director Brian Hook.
He vowed to try to strike another deal with Tehran to replace the pact he often called “the worst ever negotiated.”
On Monday, Trump said he would meet with Iranian leaders to reach another deal.
“I think it’s an appropriate thing to do,” Trump said of meeting with the Iranians. “If we can work something out that’s meaningful, not the waste of paper that the other deal was, I would certainly be willing to meet.”
After Trump pulled the US out of the agreement, Iran said it was not willing to negotiate another deal. On Monday, a spokesman for Tehran’s foreign ministry denied “media speculation” that the country was willing to talk with the US, after reports that its parliament speaker had signaling readiness for negotiations amid an economic free-fall.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — as the deal is formally known — technically remains in place, as the other signatories have committed to remain a party to the accord despite America’s absence.
Last week, Trump tweeted at Rouhani that Iran would suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before,” in a dramatic all-caps tweet.
To Iranian President 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
The threat, which largely mirrored those flung at Kim before his meeting with the North Korean leader, was made after Rouhani warned Trump of the “mother of all wars.”