Trump says ready to meet Iran’s Rouhani

Image copyright AFP Image caption President Trump said he “believed in meetings”

US President Donald Trump has offered to meet Iran’s leaders with no preconditions, at any time they want. “They want to meet, I’ll meet. Any time they want,” he said at a White House news conference with Italy’s PM. The US president’s conciliatory approach comes after he and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani traded hostile warnings earlier this month. In May, the US left a deal which curbed Iran’s nuclear activities in return for the lifting of international sanctions. Washington is preparing to re-impose sanctions on Tehran within days – despite objections from the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany, who all signed the 2015 agreement. The US is deeply suspicious of Iranian activity in the Middle East and is an ally of Israel and Saudi Arabia, two of Iran’s foes. “I’d meet with anybody. I believe in meetings,” Mr Trump added, speaking alongside Italy’s Giuseppe Conte. Last week Mr Trump responded angrily to Mr Rouhani, who had earlier warned of the consequences of a conflict with his country. Mr Trump tweeted in capitals that Iran would “suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before” if it threatened the US. Mr Rouhani had told Iranian diplomats: “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.” His remarks were reported by Iran’s state news agency Irna.

Responding to Mr Trump’s broadside, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted: “Color us unimpressed.”