Hours After Netanyahu Urges Pressure on Iran, Trump Says He Has 'No Problem' Meeting Rohani

Netanyahu said that Israel revealed an additional Iranian 'nuclear development site' and urged the world to place 'maximum pressure' on Iran

Donald Trump speaks to journalists on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, September 9, 2019.
Andrew Harnik/AP

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he could meet with Iranian President Hassan Rohani and that he had no problem with such an encounter.

"It could happen. It could happen. No problem with me," Trump told reporters at the White House. 

Rohani has said Iran would not talk to the United States until Washington lifted all of the sanctions it has reimposed on Tehran after it withdrew last year from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers. Trump withdrew from the deal because, he said, the agreement left open a path for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and did not address what the United States calls Iran's malign activities in the region. 

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"Iran should straighten out because frankly they are in a very bad position right now," Trump said. 

Last week Trump said a meeting with Rohani was possible at the U.N. General Assembly in New York later in September. 

"Sure, anything's possible. They would like to be able to solve their problem," Trump told White House reporters on Wednesday, referring to inflation in Iran. "We could solve it in 24 hours." 

Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, said last week more sanctions against Iran were coming and the United States was committed to its campaign of "maximum pressure." 

Rohani told an open session of the Iranian parliament on Thursday: "No decision has ever been taken to hold talks with the U.S. and there has been a lot of offers for talks but our answer will always be negative." 

"If America lifts all the sanctions then, like before, it can join multilateral talks between Tehran and parties to the 2015 deal," Rohani added. 

Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel has identified additional Iranian sites used to develop Tehran's nuclear program, and urged world powers to join him and Trump in putting "maximum pressure" on Iran.

In addition to the nuclear site known to the IAEA, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, Netanyahu said, there is another secret Iranian site in Abadeh, south of Isfahan, used for the development of nuclear weapons. When Iran learned that Israel knew of the site and what it was used for, they destroyed it completely.

Netanyahu did not specify what exactly was being developed at the site or how Iran found out that Israel is aware of the site.

In a message to the leadership in Tehran, Netanyahu said, "Israel knows what you're doing, Israel knows when you're doing it and Israel knows where you're doing it."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted in response to Netanyahu's announcement: "The possessor of REAL nukes cries wolf—on an ALLEGED “demolished" site in Iran."

"He & #B_Team just want a war, no matter innocent blood & another $7 TRILLION. Remember his 'GUARANTE' of 'positive reverberations' in ’02? This time, he assuredly won’t be on the sidelines watching," Zarif went on to say. 

Democratic Union's Ehud Barak called Netanyahu's remarks a "terror attack for Israel, on election grounds, part of a pathetic attempt to protect his legacy, while Trump reached out for negotiations with Iran."

"His dangerous babble doesn’t help Israel. On the contrary. He is a terrorist in Israel, and helps Iran. Anything to save himself from a trial. Shame," Barak tweeted.