by Elad Benari
National Security Adviser makes clear that Trump's willingness to talk to Iranian President doesn't imply his position is changing.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s willingness to talk to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about Tehran’s nuclear program does not imply that Trump is about to change his tough stance on Iran.
In an interview with RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, Bolton said Trump has long made it clear “he’ll meet with anybody to talk. He is a negotiator. He is a dealmaker.”
“But talking with them does not imply -- for President Trump, [it] does not imply -- changing your position,” stressed Bolton.
“I think if you look at what President Trump has said about the…the Iran nuclear deal, which he called the worst deal in US diplomatic history -- a view I think is amply justified by the facts -- he is not going to make the same mistakes that [former U.S.] President [Barack] Obama made,” he continued.
Bolton added that "the idea that Iran would receive some tangible economic benefit merely for stopping doing things that it should not have been doing in the first place is just a nonstarter."
He further 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 will be a meeting," stated Bolton.
On Monday, Trump said at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron that there is a "very good chance" he will meet with Rouhani.
Trump added that Iran is a country with great potential and is looking forward to a long-term agreement under which Iran will not produce nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
On Tuesday, however, Rouhani poured cold water on the possibility of meeting Trump, saying such a meeting will not take place unless all sanctions against Tehran are unilaterally lifted by the US.
Trump last May pulled the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers. He later imposed two rounds of sanctions on Iran, the latest of which went into effect in November of 2018.
Iran, in turn, has scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal.
The European signatories to the 2015 deal did not agree with Trump’s decision to leave the agreement and have attempted to save the deal. The European countries have vowed to help Iran evade the economic sanctions imposed by the US, shielding companies doing business with the rogue state in an effort to preserve the deal.
Macron blindsided Trump earlier this week by inviting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the G7 summit in an attempt to facilitate negotiations to save the deal.
Zarif met with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, on the sidelines of the G7 summit but did not meet any US officials.
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