At G7, Macron Says Trump and Rohani May Meet 'Within Weeks'

Earlier at the summit, Trump said he appreciated Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif's visit at the summit Sunday, but that he didn't meet with him because it was 'too soon'

French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump during a joint press conference at the end of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019.
\ CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/ REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rohani may meet within weeks, French President Emmanuel Macron said during a joint press conference with the American president at the G7 summit on Monday. 

Trump said it was realistic to think that a meeting could happen in the coming weeks. 

"I have a good feeling. They have to be good players, if you understand what I mean. They can't do what they were saying they were going to do, because if they do that, they will be met with really very violent force. So I think they are going to be good," Trump told reporters.

"I think he is going to want to meet and get their situation straightened out. They are hurting badly." 

Trump said earlier at the summit that he respected the fact that Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a visit to the G7 summit on Sunday.

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Trump added that Macron spoke to him prior to Zarif's visit and asked for his approval.

Trump said that he did not meet with Zarif because it was "too soon," but he did say that the U.S. wants a "strong Iran" and does not seek regime change. He added that the way Iranians were being forced to live is unacceptable. 

"Let Iran be rich again," Trump said. "Iran really has a chance to really build themselves up and be a really great nation," he said. "They have to stop terrorism," he cautioned.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani is defending his foreign minister's surprise visit to the summit, saying he himself is ready to go anywhere to negotiate a way out of the crisis following the U.S. pullout from the nuclear deal.

Rohani said in a televised speech Monday: "If I knew that going to a meeting and visiting a person would help my country's development and resolve the problems of the people, I would not miss it."

He also stressed that "we have to negotiate, we have to find a solution, and we have to solve the problem."

Rohani added there will be a meeting of Iranian officials later in the day to discuss Zarif's visit Sunday to France's Biarritz, where leaders of the Group of Seven rich democracies were meeting.

A senior French official said Sunday that France invited Zarif to the venue of the G7 summit to try to ease tensions over its nuclear program, and that the decision to invite him came after the G7 leaders, including Trump, gathered for dinner Saturday night.

The French official, who was not authorized to be named publicly, said that France considers it important to check in with Zarif to continue to bring positions closer together and de-escalate tensions.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed that the Islamic Republic's top diplomat landed at G7 leaders' summit, though he won't be negotiating nor meeting with U.S. officials while there.

Trump also said that the administration's plan for Middle East plan may be released before the Israeli election, slated for September 17. Trump said he thinks that Israel would like to make a peace deal and the Palestinians would "like to get U.S. funding back."

Trump contradicted a statement he made last week saying he would likely wait until after Israel's election to release the peace plan that was designed by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.