U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he would be willing to meet Iranian leaders without preconditions to discuss how to improve ties after he pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal, saying, "If they want to meet, we'll meet".
Iranian officials reacted skeptically on Tuesday to President Donald Trump's comments that he's willing to negotiate with his Iranian counterpart, saying instead that if Trump wants talks, he needs to rejoin the worldwide nuclear deal he unilaterally pulled out of earlier this year.
Asked whether he would set any preconditions for the meetings, he said: "No preconditions, no". 'Good for the country, good for them, good for us and good for the world.
However, the other signers of the pact - Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany - are trying to salvage the nuclear deal, the future of which depends in large measure on guaranteeing the sale of Iranian crude.
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.
Rouhani recently warned the US that "war with Iran is the mother of all wars", prompting an all-caps retort from Trump.
Rouhani said during a meeting with Britain's ambassador on Tuesday that after what he called the "illegal" United States withdrawal from the nuclear deal, "the ball is in Europe's court now".
"I would meet with Iran if they wanted to meet.
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I believe in meetings", especially in cases where war is at stake.
U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo told CNBC on Monday that he was on board with the president's invitation, saying Mr Trump "wants to meet with folks to solve problems".
"If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes in how they treat their own people, reduce their malign behavior, can agree that it's worthwhile to enter in a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation, then the president said he's prepared to sit down and have a conversation with him", he said.
"If this negotiation (is) carried out in any form, then it will be considered as surrender and the Iranian nation will not surrender", he said.
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.
On July 23, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington was not afraid to sanction top-ranking leaders of the "nightmare" Iranian regime.
"It's the same as North Korea", he said. "We have Kim Jong Un was elevated from an global pariah to someone who seems like a legitimate statesman".