Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Iranian Officials Rebuff Trump Meeting Offer

Trump says he would meet with Iran's leaders without preconditions Anna Moneymaker
Glenn Montgomery | 02 August, 2018, 04:55

Mr Trump said on Monday that he was open to talks with the Iranian leader.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani warned on July 22 that hostile USA policies could lead to "the mother of all wars".

A month before that, in October, Jafari warned President Trump that if he proceeds with his "stupid decision" to label the IRGC as a terror group, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards will treat the US military around the world as their Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) enemies and come back with a "crushing" response.

"I believe in meetings", the U.S. president told reporters at the White House. 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 said his offer came with no preconditions. "I'm ready to meet whenever they want to".

Kamal Kharazi, the head of Iran's Strategic Council of Foreign, said there was "no value in Trump's proposal" given Iran's "bad experiences in negotiations with America" and "US officials' violations of their commitments".

Iran is less isolated than North Korea and less amenable to a media spectacle that doesn't restore the benefits Iran lost.

Regime change should be our goal.

Rouhani on Tuesday again suggested Iran could cause major disruptions in the Gulf region by attempting to block key shipping lanes, saying "Iran has never sought tensions in the region and does not want there to be any problem for the world's waterways, but it will never let go of its right to export oil", the semi-official Mehr news agency reported. These conditions included putting a complete stop to Iran's nuclear weapons programs, a complete withdrawal of its forces from Syria, and an end to its support of foreign terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.

Trump may even be eager to grant Tehran some concession: Trump partly opposed the Obama's nuclear deal because it only lifted secondary sanctions (sanctions the US imposed on other countries trading with Iran) without touching America's primary sanctions, keeping American companies from entering the Iranian market.

But stating he has no preconditions for talks with Iran seemingly puts Trump at odds with some of his top advisers and potentially other Republicans.

Since then, Iran and other signatories have been working to find a way to salvage the agreement, even as the United States has begun reimposing some sanctions on Iran. The Iran situation gives Trump a chance to threaten China with sanctions, while China has to weigh its relationship with Iran over the one with the United States.

Iran's foreign ministry responded, mocking Trump for not taking a more "civilized" tone.

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.

And it's unclear whether Rouhani has any interest in meeting.

And on July 23, Trump warned Iran of serious consequences "few had ever suffered in history" if it made threats against the United States.

Monday's olive branch from Trump marks an abrupt shift in tone, and may be little more than theater with USA midterm elections looming on the horizon.

Given Iran's various centers of power and the skepticism about such a meeting on the part of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the country's spiritual guide and most powerful man, it's very unlikely to happen.

Secretary Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, in contrast, seem more interested in forcing Iran to capitulate. Good for the country.

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