President Trump Open to Meeting with Rouhani
Amid heightened tensions in the Gulf, US President Donald Trump expressed a willingness to meet in the coming weeks with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani. “I have a good feeling. They have to be good players… [or] they will be met with really very violent force. So I think they are going to be good,” President Trump told reporters on the sidelines of the G7 summit in France. “I think [Rouhani] is going to want to meet and get their situation straightened out. They are hurting badly,” the US leader added. President Trump on Monday stressed that he was not seeking regime change in Tehran; this, after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a surprise visit to the summit for talks with top French officials. President Trump in May of last year withdrew the US from the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal and re-imposed crippling economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Nevertheless, the European parties to the nuclear accord – France, Britain and Germany – are trying to salvage the deal by devising a financial mechanism that would circumvent US sanctions by allowing continued non-dollar trade with the mullah regime. President Trump has all the while repeatedly maintained that he is open to sitting down with Iranian leaders to renegotiate the nuclear agreement.