The idea of a direct dialogue resurfaced at the end of August during the G7 in France, where the Republican billionaire had raised the possibility of authorizing the opening of a “line of credit” limited to Iran.
Donald Trump is still ready for a meeting “without preconditions” with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rohani, according to US officials who announced Tuesday new economic sanctions against Tehran. The announcement comes hours after the US president sacked his national security adviser, John Bolton, a “hawk” from the administration who is in favor of absolute firmness on the Iranian record.
“The president has said it clearly, he is ready for a meeting without preconditions, but we are maintaining the maximum pressure campaign,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a press conference at the White House. “Of course,” added Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, questioned about the possibility of a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly at the end of the month.
- Hot and cold
Tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic, historical enemies, have been exacerbated since Washington’s withdrawal in May 2018 from the international agreement signed three years earlier. The text, which aimed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, was considered too lax by Donald Trump.
If the United States has since reinstated draconian sanctions that suffocate the Iranian economy, the real estate mogul is blowing hot and cold, between extreme firmness and willingness to negotiate with Tehran. The idea of a direct dialogue resurfaced at the end of August during the G7 in France, where the Republican billionaire had raised the possibility of authorizing the opening of a “line of credit” limited to Iran.
Donald Trump had estimated in early September that a face-to-face with Hassan Rohani was “possible” at the annual big gathering of the United Nations in New York. But the Iranian president had previously conditioned a meeting to the lifting of all sanctions against his country.
- “Defeat America’s Maximum Pressure Strategy”
Sign of the “maximum pressure” to force Tehran to reopen negotiations, Steven Mnuchin and Mike Pompeo presented Tuesday a new arsenal of sanctions against Iranian organizations or allied Iran and considered as “terrorists,” the day before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The head of the US diplomacy had earlier accused Iran of “possible undeclared nuclear activities,” denouncing its “lack of full cooperation” with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The United States will oppose “all the ways leading to nuclear weapons for this regime,” Mike Pompeo warned on Twitter.
The Iranian regime’s lack of full cooperation with @iaeaorg raises questions about possible undeclared nuclear material or activities. This fits into Iran’s 40-year pattern of lies. The world won’t fall for it. We will deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 10, 2019
Tehran unsurprisingly welcomed the dismissal of John Bolton, who according to experts advocated for years the bombardment of Iran to stop its nuclear program, suspected of hiding a military component. “The marginalization of Bolton and his dismissal is not an accident, but a clear sign of the defeat of America’s maximum pressure strategy” against Iran, tweeted Hesameddin Ashena, an adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rohani. “The blockade of Iran will be broken,” said the advisor.