U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said this weekend that President Donald Trump is willing to meet with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations meeting this week.
“I think the president’s been pretty clear about that. He’s happy to talk with folks at any time,” said Pompeo on NBC’s Meet the Press. “If there’s a constructive dialogue to be had, let’s get after it.”
Trump will be speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday and then hosting a meeting with the UN Security Council in New York on Wednesday, where Iran may be in attendance.
The president will also have one-on-one meetings with the leaders of France, Japan, Israel, Egypt, South Korea, and the U.K.
“White House officials said last week that Trump would focus the meeting on halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction. That was until Friday, when the president tweeted that he would concentrate on Iran,” writes Newsmax. “The difference between the possible topics is crucial. Under UN rules, Iran, which isn’t currently a member of the Security Council, can attend a meeting if it’s going to be the main subject of discussion. It raises the prospect of an encounter, chance or otherwise, between Trump and Rouhani.”
Ever since the U.S. imposed new economic sanctions on Iran in August, tensions between the countries have continued to escalate.
The White House also said that there will be more sanctions imposed on the oil and banking industry come November.
“The reimposed sanctions will target a range of sectors, blocking Iran from purchasing US banknotes and trading in gold and metals. They will also limit Iran’s access to the software and automotive sectors while blocking its ability to buy commercial aircraft or trade in food and other goods as well. The US said the sanctions are aimed at exerting “maximum economic pressure” against Iran,” writes Aljazeera.
Prior to the sanctions, Iran seemed open to meeting with the U.S. But then Rouhani quickly changed his tune after Trump signed the executive order implementing the sanctions.
The sanctions have had a crippling effect on Iran’s economy. Although Iran has been in a state of political unrest for months, the sanctions have also added fuel to protests and attacks.
Tensions in Iran are at an all-time high. Some media outlets have reported that the unrest in the country could ultimately lead to civil war.
This weekend, there was an attack on a military parade that killed 25 people, including 12 of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard comrades.
Rouhani has accused the U.S. of provoking this type of bloodshed.
“He’s got the Iranian people … protesting, every ounce of money that goes into Iran goes into his military, he has oppressed his people for a long time and he needs to look at his own base to figure out where that’s coming from,” said Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in response to Rouhani’s accusations.
Author’s note: Iran is internally tense. Could this lead to revolt? Rouhani should be nervous and more open to talks with Trump to appease his angry people. Trump’s sanctions are making an impact and hurting Iran’s economy, applying more pressure. Trump’s willingness to talk makes it much more likely that there will actually be real negotiations.