Donald Trump willing to meet Hassan Rouhani without preconditions following a twitter spat

File Photo: U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani/ABC

US President Donald Trump has stated that he is certainly willing to meet the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani without preconditions. However, as soon as this sentiment took flight, it was shot down by Trump’s own administration and one of Rouhani’s advisors.

During a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Trump said that he was willing to meet Iran “anytime they want to”.“I’ll meet with anybody,” he added. “There’s nothing wrong with a meeting.” When the question of setting preconditions arose, he stated, “No preconditions, no. If they want to meet, I’ll meet any time they want. Good for the country, good for them, good for us and good for the world. No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet.” However, about a week ago, Trump was certainly not sharing similar views and opinions with his current self. In what can only be described as a Twitter rant, Trump tweeted a late night, an all-caps message to Rouhani which said: “Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence & death. Be cautious!”

To this, Rouhani replied, as a warning, “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

Therefore, this recent change in Trump’s tone came as a surprise to many, especially considering his rejection of the landmark Iran nuclear accord in May. In a later statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responding to Trump’s words, he seemed to contradict his commander-in-chief by saying, “If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes in how they treat their own people, reduce their malign behaviour, 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.” One of Rouhani’s advisors, Hamid Aboutalebi, made it clear that the US was not the only one with conditions, saying that respect for the great nation of Iran, returning to the nuclear deal and a reduction in hostilities was needed first.

Trump believes that his one-to-one summits give satisfying results, referring, of course, to his recent meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin. But what he failed to mention was the immense criticism that both these summits received; Trump’s summit with Kim Jong-un did not land them a solution. The tensions between the two countries certainly reduced but it did not result in any major concessions with respect to the nuclear weapons program, which was the main reason the two of them met. After the summit, however, Trump announced that the United States was no longer on the receiving side of the nuclear threat from North Korea.

Whether Rouhani will agree to one of Trump’s signature summits is unclear, and even if he does, will the summit prove more fruitful than Trump’s previous two summits? Only time will tell.


*Neha Hardikar is a Research Intern at The Kootneeti

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