Trump thinks meeting with Rouhani can solve all US problems with Iran

TEHRAN, Aug. 04 (MNA) – Richard Nephew, who served as the lead sanctions expert for the US team negotiating with Iran, is of the opinion that Trump believes that “if he met with Rouhani, he could solve all US problems with Iran.”

The fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, says, “I suspect, though, that from Iranian officials public comments, they would not be prepared to meet with Trump on the basis of his unpredictability, irrationality, and incoherence.”

Following is the text of Mehr News interview with him:

Donald Trump said he would be willing to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with “no preconditions”. What are the reasons behind his statement?

I would not take this as a decision. This is a statement and, as the Secretary of State told Congress last week, the statements of the president are apparently not supposed to be understood to be policy. This is confusing not only to you but also to the American people.

As for what motivated him, I think he's been clear that his main objection to most things is that he was not responsible for them. He believes any agreement he negotiates is the best one and that any decision he reaches is, likewise, the best. Consequently, I think he believes that if he met with Rouhani, he could solve all US problems with Iran. And, this he has said since the presidential campaign.

After Trump's statement on no preconditions' meeting with Iran, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on CNBC hours later to set some conditions. What are the reasons for this contradiction in Washington?

Ultimately, it is because there are sharp cleavages in the Trump Administration about virtually every foreign policy matter. Pompeo was attempting to reassert control over the Iran policy.

What if Trump is honest in his words but his own administration, especially national security advisor John Bolton or US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo disagrees with his vision for talks? Is there any possibility that they would be fired from the administration?

Perhaps, but Trump himself also said that he would be prepared to launch a war against Iran. I think that his opinion about what we ought to do changes moment by moment. I do not think he would fire Bolton or Pompeo over this. He may fire them in the future if he decides they are disloyal or too public profile.

Former US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman tweeted “Iran just might have a precondition- (Trump) rejoin the community of nations in support of the JCPOA”. What’s your opinion on this matter?

Well, obviously, I agree with Wendy that this would be in the US national interest. I also agree with Wendy that, I would assume, this would be one of Iran's core demands of any negotiation. I suspect, though, that from Iranian official’s public comments, they would not be prepared to meet with Trump on the basis of his unpredictability, irrationality, and incoherence.

Interview by: Javad Heirannia

News Code 136372

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