Trump Hints at Possible Rouhani Meeting on UN Sidelines
US President Donald Trump hinted at a potential meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, on the sidelines of this month’s United Nations General Assembly in New York City. “Sure, anything’s possible,” the US leader stated. “They [Iran] would like to be able to solve their [financial] problem,” which President Trump suggested could be accomplished within 24 hours. Less than two weeks ago, the US leader reiterated a willingness to hold direct talks with Iranian officials, although Tehran has to date rejected these overtures. Instead, it is conditioning negotiations with Washington on the lifting of economic sanctions. President Trump reimposed those sanctions on the Islamic Republic after withdrawing in May of last year from the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal. Since then, tensions have skyrocketed in the Middle East, with the White House blaming Iran for numerous attacks on tankers transiting Gulf waterways. The US administration has also accused the Iranian regime of ordering its proxies in Iraq and Yemen to attack American and Saudi interests. Meanwhile, France has reportedly offered to extend Iran a $15 billion letter of credit in exchange for the Islamic Republic’s ongoing compliance with the nuclear accord. The amount is equal to about half of Iran’s annual oil sales, which have plummeted by over 80 percent due to the sanctions. Tehran has threatened to further reduce its commitments to the nuclear pact “in the coming days” unless European countries are able to devise a mechanism to allow it to continue selling its crude to global markets.