United States President Donald Trump said on Monday he was willing to meet Iran's President Hassan Rouhani without preconditions to discuss how to improve ties between the two countries. "I believe in meeting", Mr. Trump said at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Last week, after Rouhani said that "peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars", Trump responded with an all-caps, late-night tweet warning of "CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE" if Iran should "THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN". "It was a ridiculous deal", said Trump.
World powers and Iran have been working on an economic package to compensate for USA sanctions that begin taking effect in August.
President Trump has offered to meet Iran's leaders with no preconditions, at any time they want. He reflected on his "so positive" meeting with dictator Kim Jong-un and "great meeting" with Russian President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
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.
Iranian Vice-President Eshagh Jahangiri said the government and the central bank would unveil a new economic plan by the end of this week to tackle the USA sanctions and the rial's fall.
Mr. Trump said that meeting was especially important when war or starvation hang in the balance. Mr. Trump called that meeting a major success, but critics said it hadn't produced any real concessions.
In October, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that "Iranians-boys, girls, men, women-are ALL IRGC" less than 24 hours after the U.S. Department of Treasury officially sanctioned the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. It took about 112,000 rials to buy one USA dollar on Tuesday, almost double what it cost when Mr. Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal.
On the former point, Trump has made his disdain for the nuclear accord clear, calling it a "horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made".
European signatories to the deal have been searching for ways to salvage it but cautioned Tehran that they may not be able to persuade many investors not to bolt from business with Iran to avoid USA punishment.
In May, Trump withdrew the United States from the landmark 2015 global agreement created to deny Tehran the ability to build nuclear weapons.
The White House clarified that Trump's potential willingness to meet with his Iranian counterpart did not change his administration's intent to ratchet up sanctions and rhetoric against Tehran.
The tougher USA posture on Iran has fueled speculation that Trump is seeking to promote enough unrest to potentially unseat Iran's rulers.
The council was set up by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to help formulate long-term policies for the Islamic Republic.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he supports the president's desire to talk with Iranian leaders - but not without preconditions. "So it's really hard for the Iranian leadership to now turn around and start negotiation from scratch", said Shahram Akbarzedeh, a research professor in Middle East and Central Asian Politics at Australia's Deakin University.
In addition to Britain, China, Germany, France, Russia and the European Union are negotiating with Iran on preserving the deal.