US President Donald Trump said Monday he is happy to meet with Iran's leaders "any time" and without preconditions, one week after tensions soared between Washington and Tehran.
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. No preconditions. If they want to meet, I'll meet'.
Trump's offer comes after a provocative warning a week ago from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who said the United States should not "play with the lion's tail" and warned that any conflict with Iran would be the "mother of all wars".
Even though Trump on Monday said if Rouhani were to meet with him there would be "no preconditions", he also did not walk back from any of those earlier demands.
That dialogue was "based on the idea of confidence-building measures and the nuclear deal was an achievement of this effort and it must be accepted", wrote Aboutalebi.
"The president wants to meet with folks to solve problems if the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to making fundamental changes in how they treat their own people, reduce their maligned behaviour, can agree that it's worthwhile to enter into a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation", he said.
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Lewis's group also published images of a large industrial facility that some US intelligence analysts believe to be the Kangson uranium enrichment plant.
"Respect for the great nation of Iran, reduction in hostilities, United States returning to the nuclear deal..."
The overture comes as Mr Trump and Tehran have been escalating their rhetoric after the U.S. president's May withdrawal from a landmark nuclear accord.
White House and administration officials rushed to place caveats on the president's seemingly open invitation. 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.
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". Since then, Tehran's clerical establishment has been under increasing USA pressure and the prospect of renewed sanctions. Good for them. Good for us.
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 US presidents. We got our prisoners back.