US President Donald Trump says he was prepared to meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani within weeks, after talks about Tehran’s nuclear programme at the G7 summit in France.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had made a surprise appearance on the sidelines of the summit in Biarritz on Sunday at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron said the “conditions for a meeting” between Trump and Rouhani “in the next few weeks” had been created through intensive diplomacy and consultations.
“If the circumstances were correct, I would certainly agree to that,” Trump said at a press conference with Macron at the end of three days of talks.
Asked if he thought the timeline proposed by his French counterpart was realistic, Trump replied: “It does”, adding he thought Rouhani would also be in favour.
“I think he’s going to want to meet. I think Iran wants to get this situation straightened out,” he added.
Trump has put in place a policy of “maximum pressure” on Tehran over its disputed nuclear programme via crippling sanctions that are seen as raising the risk of conflict in the Middle East.
The US president last year unilaterally pulled out of a landmark 2015 international deal that placed limits on Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for trade, investment and sanctions relief.