Just before President Donald Trump expressed his willingness Monday to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani under “no preconditions,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson made it clear that such talks are not on the table, according to a New York Times report.
Calling the United States “totally unreliable,” spokesman Bahram Qassemi spoke with the anger many of his countrymen feel after Trump’s sudden exit from the nuclear deal and restoration of sanctions on Iran in May. “With current America and these policies, there will definitely not be the possibility of dialogue and engagement,” he said at a press conference on Monday.
Per the New York Times, since Trump’s departure from the pact, Iran’s economy has taken a devastating hit, with its currency losing half its value.
During a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Trump struck a very different chord from the Iranians, saying “I’ll meet with anybody. If they want to meet, I’ll meet—anytime they want.”
But Trump seems to be the only one in favor of a meeting. His own national security team reportedly thinks a possible summit would be a bad idea, given Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s blistering attack last week of the Iran’s leaders as “hypocritical holy men.”
Per the Times, Pompeo even split from his boss on the prerequisites necessary for the hypothetical meeting. He told the Times that Iranian leaders would have to “demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes in how they treat their own people, reduce their malign behavior, can agree that it’s worthwhile to enter into a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation.”
As Iran remains in the nuclear deal with other world powers—including Britain, Russia and China—that don’t send it threatening tweets, there seems to be little incentive for the country’s leaders to humor Trump.