RFL/RE – U.S. President Donald Trump says he is sure Tehran will “soon” seek to negotiate with Washington, and he dismissed media reports suggesting there was disagreement within the administration of his policy toward Iran.
“I’m sure that Iran will want to talk soon,” Trump wrote on Twitter on May 15 without elaborating.
Trump’s remarks follow comments he made on May 9 when he said he did not rule out a military confrontation with Iran. But he added, “What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me.”
Iranian leaders responded by rejecting any talks with Washington.
Tensions have risen since Trump in May 2018 pulled the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with six world powers. The accord provided Tehran with relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
In pulling out of the agreement, Trump said the terms were not tough enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and did not address Iran’s missile program or Tehran’s alleged support for militants in the region.
Iran denies it supports insurgent activity and has said its nuclear program is strictly for civilian energy purposes.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during a visit to Tokyo on May 16 that Tehran was showing “maximum restraint” despite the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear accord and he accused Washington of an “unacceptable” escalation of the crisis.
“We exercise maximum restraint…in spite of the fact that the United States withdrew from JCPOA last May,” he added, referring to the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Zarif said Tehran remained “committed” to the deal, noting that international inspectors have said Iran is in compliance with the agreement.
He expressed hope that Japan and other U.S. allies will take “practical measures in order to maintain this valuable international agreement.”
Trump has ordered a beefing up of U.S. military assets in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, citing possible threats from Iran. The State Department also ordered the evacuation of all nonessential personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, citing tensions with neighboring Iran.
Meanwhile, Trump blasted media reports that of discord in the White House over the president’s policies toward Iran.
“The Fake News Washington Post, and even more Fake News New York Times, are writing stories that there is infighting with respect to my strong policy in the Middle East,” he wrote on Twitter.
“There is no infighting whatsoever.”
“Different opinions are expressed and I make a decisive and final decision — it is a very simple process,” he added.