US President says willing to meet with Iran leaders 'any time'

Trump presser 07302018

Trump presser 07302018

Donald Trump has said he would "certainly meet" Iranian President Hassan Rouhani without preconditions, if he was willing.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a press conference at the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the State Department in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2018.

Asked whether he would set any preconditions for the meetings, he said: "No preconditions, no". Good for them. Good for us.

"Today we are at a very critical point in history regarding the nuclear deal, and Europe's transparent measures to compensate for the United States' unlawful withdrawal from it are very important for the Iranian nation", Rouhani said after talks with new British Ambassador Rob Macaire.

Reaction among Trump critics in both parties on Capitol Hill was mixed, with Sen.

"Given the hostile measures of the U.S. against Iran after its withdrawal from the JCPOA (nuclear deal) and the reinstatement of economic sanctions, there is no possibility for talks and Washington reveals its untrustworthy nature day by day", Ghasemi told reporters, according to the conservative-aligned Mehr news agency.

Trump's offer comes after a provocative warning a week ago from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who said the USA should not "play with the lion's tail" and warned that any conflict with Iran would be the "mother of all wars".

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Barely a week after warning Iran it would suffer untold "consequences", Trump said he would meet the country's leader Hassan Rouhani "any time" and without preconditions. If they want to meet, I'll meet anytime they want, anytime they want. "It was a ridiculous deal", Trump said.

White House and administration officials rushed to place caveats on the president's seemingly open invitation. "Until then, the sting of sanctions will only grow more painful if the regime does not change course".

"Based on our bad experiences in negotiations with America and based on U.S. officials' violation of their commitments, it is natural that we see no value in his proposal", Kamal Kharrazi was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

A senior aide to Rouhani said the only way back to talks was for Washington to return to the nuclear agreement.

But if Trump were to pursue diplomacy with Iran's leadership, he would have to overcome deep-seated concerns among Washington's closest regional allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, who are deeply skeptical about negotiating with Rouhani's government. Yet in meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump has taken bold steps to ensure regional and even global peace.

"We met as you know with Chairman Kim and you haven't had a missile fired off in nine months. So many things have happened so positive", Trump said.

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