Friday, January 24, 2020

(JNS) U.S. President Donald Trump’s willingness to meet with Iranian leaders does not reflect a change in his administration’s tough stance on the Islamic Republic, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said.

“Talking with [Iran] does not imply, for President Trump, changing your position, and the idea that Iran would receive some tangible economic benefit merely for stopping doing things it shouldn’t have been in the first place is just a nonstarter,” he said.

Speaking to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty during a trip to Ukraine, Bolton said that “if there is a comprehensive deal then of course the sanctions will come off at that point. When the regime in Iran is ready to talk about that then there’ll be a meeting.” However, as far as Trump is concerned, said Bolton, “He’ll meet with anybody to talk. He is a negotiator. He is a dealmaker.”

“I think if you look at what President Trump has said about the Iran nuclear deal, which he called the worst deal in U.S. diplomatic history—a view I think is amply justified by the facts—he is not going to make the same mistakes that President [Barack] Obama made,” he added.

Earlier this week, Trump said at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron that he was ready to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, though Rouhani replied that the United States would have to “retreat from their mistakes” before he would meet with American officials.

“Without the U.S.’s withdrawal from sanctions, we will not witness any positive development,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.

However, Rouhani had said on Monday that “if I knew that going to a meeting and visiting a person would help my country’s development and resolve the problems of the people, I would not miss it.”