Iran sets preconditions for potential meeting with Trump

In an initial reaction to US President Donald Trump’s suggestion that he is willing to meet Iranian leaders at any time and without preconditions, an official with the Islamic Republic on Tuesday outlined two prior requirements.

Trump would have to first take back the US withdrawal from the internationally-backed deal with Iran on its nuclear weapons programme and also would have to suspend new sanctions against Tehran before any talks, Hamid Abutalebi, an adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rowhani, said on Twitter.

“Back to the nuclear deal, an end to hostile words and respect for the Iranian people (…) then one could pave the way out of the current dilemma,” the presidential adviser tweeted in Farsi.

Trump’s unexpected announcement of a willingness to meet follows days of sabre-rattling between the two camps through the media and via Twitter and as the United States prepares to step up sanctions against Iran.

Trump said a future meeting with Iranian leaders would be useful “if we could work something out that is meaningful, not the waste of paper the other deal is,” a reference to the agreement reached under his predecessor Barack Obama in 2015 with international support.

It was negotiated by the US, the European Union, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. The agreement was formally endorsed by the UN Security Council, incorporating it into international law.

Iran and the US have been rivals for nearly four decades following the Islamic revolution in the oil-rich nation.

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