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National Security & Defense

Trump Says He’s Open to Meeting Iranian Leaders in Near Future

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before boarding Air Force One in Morristown, N.J., August 15, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Trump says that he is open to meeting with Iranian leaders in the coming weeks, despite declining an invitation to meet Iran’s president Monday.

“If the circumstances were correct or right I would certainly agree to that,” Trump said during a press conference with French president Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France. “In the meantime they have to be good players.”

“It does,” Trump responded when asked if a meeting with Iran in the next few weeks sounded realistic.

At the French foreign minister’s invitation, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif met in Biarritz with Macron as well as representatives from France, Germany, and Britain on Sunday.

“I didn’t think it was appropriate to meet yesterday, too soon, and things have to be worked out first,” Trump said. He added that Macron had a “very positive meeting” with Zarif and said the French leader had informed him of the details of the planned discussion beforehand.

Trump went on to say that his “gut” feeling is Tehran wants to “get this situation straightened out.” But he promised that Iran will be met with “very violent force” if it develops nuclear weapons.

Trump meanwhile continued to bash the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran, calling it a “ridiculous deal” in which “we got nothing.”

The Trump administration announced in May 2018 that the U.S. would withdraw from the 2015 agreement, which provided Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for a promise to curb its nuclear ambitions.

“With a country you don’t make a deal that short,” the president said, referring to the expiration of some of the deal’s terms in 2031. “Countries last for long times.”

“Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. I say it all the time about everything,” Trump said of negotiations with Iran. “The last thing I’d like to see is a big problem, but we have to do what we have to do.”

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