President Donald Trump said Monday he would meet with Iran's leadership without preconditions as the countries grapple with the consequences of his decision to pull the U.S. out of a landmark nuclear accord.
"I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet," Trump told reporters at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the White House, caging his words by saying he is unsure if Iran is ready to talk but insisting that talks could be beneficial.
“Speaking to other people, especially when you’re talking about potentials of war and death and famine and lots of other things, you meet. There’s nothing wrong with meeting," Trump added.
Earlier Monday, Iran's foreign ministry dismissed the possibility of holding talks with Washington, saying "it is not possible to have talks with a U.S. administration that adopts hostile policies against Iran".
Trump elicited Iran's furor in May when he unilaterally pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 nuclear accord the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany struck with Iran. The deal saw Tehran accept unprecedented curbs and inspections on its nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
The U.S.'s negotiating partners have been seeking to shore up the agreement and its restrictions on Iran's nuclear program. But following his announcement, Trump and his administration have been seeking to get others to follow suit with the threat of sanctions that are expected to take effect next week.
The first round of sanctions, largely targeting Iran's banking sector, are set to take effect Aug. 6. A second, more robust wave of oil-related sanctions is set to snap back Nov. 4.
With “Washington's hostile measures against Tehran and its efforts to put economic pressure on the country and impose sanctions, there will remain no possibility for talks,” Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told reporters.
Trump maintained, however, that talks would be "good for the country. Good for them, good for us. And good for the world," and said he believes Iran will be willing to sit down eventually.
"I do believe that they will probably end up wanting to meet, and I’m ready to meet anytime they want to," he said.
Trump continued to double down on his threat to shut down the U.S. government if Congress does not sign off on his border security proposals, emphasizing that in addition to his long list of measures, "border security includes the wall" he has promised to build on the U.S.'s southern border.
"If we don’t get border security, after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown," he said. "I would be certainly willing to consider a shutdown if we don’t get proper border security."
The last government shutdown that affected government services occurred in January and lasted only three days. Another brief shutdown in February lasted under half a day.
Government funding will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, which concludes at the end of September.
The prospect of a shutdown has rattled Republicans ahead of November's midterm elections, where they are seeking to maintain their slim hold on the Senate and maintain their majority in the House.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded Friday that funding for Trump's wall would "probably" have to wait until after the midterms.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Copyright Andolu Ajansi