ABC News(BIARRITZ, France) — President Donald Trump on Monday said he would be open to a meeting with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron.
After Macron said he hoped to arrange such a meeting in the “coming weeks,” Trump said, “If the circumstances were correct or right, I would certainly agree with that,”
“In the meantime they have to be good players,” Trump said. Otherwise, he said, Iran will be met with “violent force.”
Macron said Rouhani was open to a meeting with Trump as well.
Asked by ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl if it sounds realistic to organize a meeting with Iran within just a matter of weeks, Trump said “it does.”
“I think he’s going to want to meet. I think Iran wants to get this situation straightened out. Is that based on fact or based on gut? That’s based on gut,” Trump said. “But they want to get this situation straightened out, Jonathan. They’re really hurting badly.”
Macron invited Iran’s foreign minister to the G-7 summit over the weekend.
“So, I hope that in the next few weeks based on our discussions, we will be able to achieve the meeting that happen I just mentioned between president Rouhani and President Trump, myself and the partners who have a role to play in nuclear negotiations will also be fully involved in these negotiations,” Macron said.
While the president expressed openness to the idea, Trump sounded nonchalant about whether the current diplomatic effort, with France as a mediator of sorts, ultimately pans out.
“Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. I say it all the time about everything. Maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t,” he said.
On the unexpected visit of Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif to the G-7 this weekend, the president again insisted that he was not blindsided by the meeting.
“By the way, President Macron told me every step he was making. He told me long before he came in what was happening. I didn’t think it was appropriate to meet yesterday, too soon, and things he to be worked out first. But president macron told me exactly what was happening, who was coming, what time they were coming, where they were going to meet,” the president said.
Macron, asked whether he asked for the president’s permission before meeting with Iran’s foreign minister or if he informed the president of the meeting, made clear that he informed the president.
“I informed President Trump that it was my idea, not to involve the United States, not to say this is on behalf of you, of everybody, but to say as friends I think it would be a good idea to ask him to go back and try to negotiate something. So I did it on my own, I informed — before making it, President Trump was informed,” Macron said.
Macron was also asked whether he has concerns about Trump’s trade war with China hurting the global economy. He said “what’s bad for the world economy is uncertainty and the quicker an agreement is arrived at, the quicker that uncertainty will dissipate.”
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