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US defense chief urges Iran to hold talks

Posted in World

Published on August 29, 2019 with No Comments

Iranian president: First lift sanctions, then let’s talk

Iran’s president back-pedaled on possible talks with Donald Trump, saying the U.S. president must first lift sanctions imposed on Tehran, otherwise a meeting between the two would be a mere photo opportunity.  “Without the U.S.’s withdrawal from sanctions, we will not witness any positive development,” Rouhani said in a televised speech, adding that Washington “holds the key” as to what happens next.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has urged Iran  to enter discussions with the United States in order to ease tensions in the Gulf region.

“We are not seeking conflict with Iran. We want to engage with them diplomatically,” Esper said in his first formal press conference after being confirmed last month.”The president said once again he is willing to meet with Iran’s leaders,” he said. “We hope that the Iranians would agree to meet and talk and help us resolve these issues,” he added.

At the G7 meeting in Biarritz, France  Trump, whose government has aggressively sought to pressure Tehran, showed openness to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal of a summit with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.

“If the circumstances were correct, I would certainly agree to that,” Trump said at a joint press conference with Macron.

That could be the ice-breaker needed to end more than two years of heightened hostilities between the two countries.

 

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