Trump says he's open to talks with Iran, amid rising tensions

Trump says he's open to talks with Iran, amid rising tensions
Despite mounting tensions, Trump has said he could be open to talks with Iran.
2 min read
09 May, 2019
Trump has opened up the possibility of talks with Iran [Getty]

US President Donald Trump on Thursday opened up the possibility of talks with arch-foe Iran, despite mounting tensions between the two countries.

His offer of talks with the Iranian leadership comes as the US sent military units - including B-52 bombers - to the Gulf region with the apparent aim of piling pressure on Tehran after the country's leaders announced it would end some commitments to a nuclear deal with global powers.

Despite this, Trump said on Thursday that the two countries might be able to reach on the nuclear issue.

"What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me," Trump told reporters at the White House.

"We don't want them to have nuclear weapons - not much to ask," he said.

He then went on to attack former Democrats Secretary of State John Kerry, claiming he was in touch with Iranian leaders and had told them "not to call".

"John Kerry, he speaks to them a lot," Trump said. "He tells them not to call."

Trump then said Kerry should be face legal action for allegedly violating the Logan Act, which prohibits private US citizens from negotiating with foreign governments, although prosecutions are extremely rare.

"Frankly, he should be prosecuted on that," he said.

"But they should call," Trump said. "If they do, we are open to talk to them."

Washington has deployed an aircraft carrier to the Gulf although US leaders have said they are not looking for a conflict with Tehran.

"I want them to be strong and great, to have a great economy," Trump said, adding that "we can make a fair deal."

Kerry, as secretary of state under President Barack Obama, played a key role in negotiating a deal with Iran aimed at curbing the country's nuclear ambitions.

The 2015 JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, between Iran and world powers - including the US - gave Tehran sanctions relief in return to it limiting its nuclear programme.

Trump pulled Washington out of the agreement in May of last year and enforced unilateral economic sanctions on Tehran.

On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would no longer implement parts of the deal and threatened further actions.

A spokesman for Kerry condemned Trump's remarks as "theatre".