US President Donald Trump said Sunday he does not care if Iran agrees to negotiate with Washington after a senior adviser earlier suggested the country would have no choice but to agree to talks.
National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien told "Fox News Sunday" the Trump administration's "maximum pressure campaign" was working, adding "Iran is being choked off, and Iran is going to have no other choice but to come to the table."
In a Twitter post later on Sunday, Trump cited O'Brien's interview and wrote: "Actually, I couldn't care less if they negotiate. Will be totally up to them but, no nuclear weapons and 'don't kill your protesters.'"
A spokesman for O'Brien did not immediately comment.
But the shootdown of the Ukrainian plane on the night of the strike that killed Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, killing all 176 people aboard, opened a new avenue of pressure for the Trump administration.
“I think the regime is having a very bad week,” O'Brien said in the interview.
“This was a regime that’s reeling from maximum pressure, they’re reeling from their incompetence in this situation and the people of Iran are just fed up with it,” he said, adding that regime change is not US policy.
“The people of Iran are going to hopefully have the ability at some point to elect their own government and to be governed by the leaders they choose,” O'Brien added.
In Tehran, Iran's security forces deployed in large numbers on Sunday. Demonstrators defied the heavy police presence to protest their country's days of denials that it shot down the Ukrainian plane. Videos posted online showed protesters shouting anti-government slogans and moving through subway stations and sidewalks.
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