Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
Finance | By Jaime Brady

Trump says he would 'certainly meet' Iranian president

Trump says he would 'certainly meet' Iranian president

No U.S. president has met with an Iranian leader since the Washington cut diplomatic relations with Tehran a year after the 1979 revolution that toppled the shah, a U.S. ally.

Trump's willingness to engage face to face with world leaders who are traditional foes of the West has been met with fierce criticism.

Trump drew a comparison with his diplomacy toward North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who Trump met in a June 12 summit with the aim of convincing Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arsenal, a decades-long objective that has eluded several USA presidents.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo supports President Donald Trump's statement that he is willing to sit down for talks with Iranian officials, the State Department said on Tuesday.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing that Pompeo had said previously that Trump wants to meet with global leaders to solve problems, including with Iranian officials. If they want to meet, I'll meet any time they want, any time they want.

Reports say Iran's currency has dropped to an all-time low plunging past 100,000 rials to the United States dollar, as Iranians brace for August 7, when USA sanctions come into full effect.

It's unclear whether Rouhani has any interest in meeting with Trump. The Iranian leader's chief of staff claimed earlier this month in Iran's state-owned newspaper that he had rejected eight requests from the White House for one-on-one talks previous year.

"Back to the nuclear deal, an end to hostile words and respect for the Iranian people (...) then one could pave the way out of the current dilemma", the presidential adviser tweeted in Farsi.

He ended the message with a warning: "BE CAUTIOUS!".

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Trump tempered his threatening rhetoric two days later when he said his administration stands ready for Iran to come back to the negotiating table.

However, foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said on Monday, prior to Trump's statement, that talks with the current United States administration were impossible.

Ali Motahari, the deputy speaker of Iran's parliament who is seen as part of Iran's moderate camp, said that to negotiate with Trump now "would be a humiliation". He pointed to his recent one-on-ones with North Korea's Kim Jong Un and Russia's Vladimir Putin as examples of the benefits of such meetings.

"I believe in meetings", especially in cases where war is at stake.

Asked whether he would set any preconditions for the meetings, Trump was clear.

"No preconditions, no. If they want to meet, I'll meet anytime they want, anytime they want", he said. "How can we trust this country when it withdraws unilaterally from the nuclear deal?"

"They want to meet, I'll meet".

U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo told CNBC on Monday that he was on board with the president's invitation, saying Mr Trump "wants to meet with folks to solve problems".

"However, this relief is only possible if there are tangible, demonstrated and sustained shifts in Tehran's policies".

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