Trump says willing to meet Iran leaders without preconditions

DONALD-TRUMP-PRESS

GETTY WILLING Trump had previously attacked the Iranian regime via Twitter

Senior Iranian officials on Tuesday rejected US President Donald Trump's offer of talks without preconditions as worthless and "a humiliation" after he acted to re-impose sanctions on Tehran following his withdrawal from a landmark nuclear deal.

Iranian officials reacted skeptically on Tuesday to President Donald Trump's comments that he's willing to negotiate with his Iranian counterpart, saying instead that if Trump wants talks, he needs to rejoin the worldwide nuclear deal he unilaterally pulled out of earlier this year.

"I'll meet with anybody", he said.

'There's nothing wrong with meeting'.

Trump would have to first take back the U.S. withdrawal from the internationally-backed deal with Iran on its nuclear weapons programme and also would have to suspend new sanctions against Tehran before any talks, Hamid Abutalebi, an adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rowhani, said on Twitter. "Until then, the sting of sanctions will only grow more painful if the regime does not change course".

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 Mr Rouhani had rejected eight requests from Mr Trump for one-on-one talks previous year.

Rouhani recently warned the United States that 'war with Iran is the mother of all wars', prompting an all-caps retort from Trump.

However, the other signers of the pact - Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany - are trying to salvage the nuclear deal, the future of which depends in large measure on guaranteeing the sale of Iranian crude.

He ended the message with a warning: 'BE CAUTIOUS!'

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif fired back with his own message that began, "COLOR US UNIMPRESSED".

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

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".

Trump pulled the USA out of the 2015 nuclear deal in May, and is set to reimpose full sanctions in two stages in August and November.

'No preconditions, no. If they want to meet, I'll meet anytime they want, anytime they want,' he said.

Barely a week ago, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched a rhetorical assault on Iran's leaders, comparing them to a "mafia" and promising unspecified backing for Iranians unhappy with their government. "I do believe that they will probably end up wanting to meet and I'm ready to meet any time that they want to".

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.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was more skeptical, calling it "another recipe for bad outcomes".

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