Should Trump meet the mullahs?

Trump says he would meet with Iran's leaders without preconditions

Domestic pressure on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to take a more hard-line stance toward the US after Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear deal gives him little leeway to accept President Donald Trump's offer to meet.

"I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet", Trump said during a joint news conference at the White House alongside Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Rouhani had warned the US that hostile policies could trigger the "mother of all wars", after which Trump tweeted in all-caps: "NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. It was a ridiculous deal", said Trump. USA financial sanctions take effect next week.

Fresh off his meeting with Kim Jong Un, President Trump is talking about getting together with Iran's leaders "whenever they want" and "without preconditions".

So lastly, even if they were to meet, why would Rouhani want to negotiate a new nuclear deal with the USA given that the Americans have turned their back on an already existing deal?

Trump had zeroed in on the threat posed by Iran in recent weeks, focusing on Tehran instead of the dangers posed by North Korea or Russian Federation.

Bahram Ghasemi, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Monday there was no possibility of dialogue, and that the US had shown itself to be "totally unreliable".

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"If we don't get border security, after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown", he said. "There's nothing wrong with meeting", Trump added.

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. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander, Qassem Soleimani, chimed in as well, claiming that President Trump had failed in Operation Enduring freedom and would get the same result should the USA attack Iran.

"Iranian leadership has presented Trump as a bully and has presented the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal as a betrayal of trust. Senior American officials have stated that there is no change in America's firm policy on Iran".

Last week, Trump issued a direct counterthreat to Tehran in an all-capital-letters tweet in which he sharply warned Rouhani to "never threaten the United States" or the Islamic Republic would suffer historic consequences.

"If the President's going to sit down with them without any preconditions, he must think he's a genius, because if he thinks he can pull off a meeting with the supreme leader of Iran without any prior discussions - good luck". "I believe in meeting", Mr Trump said.

The vice speaker of Iran's parliament also told reporters that the US withdrawal from the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, made new negotiations a nonstarter. Iran had showed its openness to dialogue in the past, particularly with the phone call between Rouhani and Trump's predecessor Barack Obama in 2013.

"Based on our bad experiences in negotiations with America and based on the USA officials' violation of their commitments, it is natural that we see no value in Trump's proposal", Kharazi said.

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