No Change in Trump's Policy on Iran, U.S. Officials Tell Israel

Administration officials reassure Israel that despite the American president's softened rhetoric on Iran in recent days, White House policy remains as firm as ever

Combination of pictures of U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rohani.
AFP

Senior United States government officials told Israel Tuesday that there is no change in U.S. policy on Iran, despite recent statements from American President Donald Trump on his willingness to meet with Iran. 

An Israeli government official said Tuesday that Israel is in constant communication with the U.S.

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Trump said Monday that he was willing to meet with Iran's leadership "anytime" and "with no preconditions."

Speaking later on CNBC, U.S. Secratary of State Mike Pompeo said: "If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes to how they treat their own people, reduce their malign behavior, agree that it's worthwhile to enter into a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation, then the president said he is prepared to sit down and have a conversation with them."

Iran responded to Trump Tuesday, setting two preconditions to a possible meeting. Trump would have to agree to return to the internationally-backed nuclear deal with Iran and also would have to suspend new sanctions against Tehran before any talks, Hamid Abutalebi, an aide to Iranian President Hassan Rohani, said on Twitter. 

"Respecting the Iranian nation's rights, reducing hostilities and returning to the nuclear deal are steps that can be taken to pave the bumpy road of talks between Iran and America," Abutalebi tweeted in Farsi.

Different sentiments were also voiced Tuesday by senior Iranian parliament member Ali Motahari, who said now is not a good time for Iran to negotiate with the United States.

“If Trump had not withdrawn from (Iran’s) nuclear deal (with world powers) and had not imposed sanctions on Iran, there would be no problem with negotiations with America,” Motahari, the deputy speaker of parliament, was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.