Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
Money | By Bruce West

Pompeo supports Trump's offer of talks with Iran: State Department

Pompeo supports Trump's offer of talks with Iran: State Department

Donald Trump seemed to jettison threats of impending war with Iran on Monday, saying he was willing to meet the country's leaders without precondition, a dramatic about-face by the enigmatic United States president.

Speaking during a joint news conference with Italy's premier Giuseppe Conte, Mr Trump said he would meet the Iranians "any time they want to".

When asked whether Pompeo specifically supported talking to the Iranians without preconditions, however, Nauert avoided using that phrase and said Washington would like to see changes in Iran's behavior but "what is important is that we would be willing to sit down and have these conversations".

"Respecting the Iranian nation's rights, reducing hostilities and returning to the nuclear deal are steps that can be taken to pave the bumpy road of talks between Iran and America", Hamid Aboutalebi, an adviser to Rouhani, tweeted on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump has no shortage of critics.

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

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

Donald Trump and Hassan Rouhani
Mr Trump’s comments on a possible meeting with the Iranian leader follow belligerent rhetoric between the two

'No preconditions, no. If they want to meet, I'll meet anytime they want, anytime they want,' he said. "It was a ridiculous deal", Trump said.

He says he wants a new deal that goes beyond limiting Iran's nuclear programme and includes curbs to its regional behaviour and missile programme.

The White House said that even though the president "is open to dialogue and negotiation", it did not mean the United States would lift sanctions or re-establish diplomatic and commercial relations.

Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the president's National Security Council, later said in a statement that the USA would not be lifting any sanctions or re-establishing diplomatic and commercial relations until "there are tangible, demonstrated, and sustained shifts in Tehran's policies". The administration is set to begin reimposing sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 deal next month and has been ratcheting up a pressure campaign on the Islamic republic that many suspect is aimed at regime change.

Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency quoted political adviser Hamid Aboutalebi as saying that for talks to happen, the USA needs to rejoin the deal.

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. We got our prisoners back.

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