Big New Development , Trump agree to meet Rouhani | Breaking News Story
President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are scheduled to be in New York for the U.N. General Assembly in September. There is speculation that the two geopolitical rivals might meet on the sidelines of the event in a bid to de-escalate tensions between the United States and Iran.
Such a meeting would be a typical strategy for an American leader more focused on deals than dogma and willing to abruptly change his policy if it aids a negotiation. Trump met with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un after months of missile and nuclear tests last year; his administration has been willing to talk directly to groups as unsavory as the Afghan Taliban and even the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen.
But if Trump continues to pursue the idea of direct talks with his counterpart in Tehran, he will run into a serious backlash — not only from hard-liners in both Iran and the United States. The decision would again expose the distance between an opportunistic president and his ideological backers.
Both Trump and Rouhani have discussed the possibility of a meeting in recent days, with the U.S. leader sounding especially positive. “If the circumstances were correct, were right, I would certainly agree to that,” Trump said at a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron during the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, on Monday. Trump later suggested that a summit could happen within weeks.
This summer, with Iran’s economy suffering real pain and the United States mulling bolstering its military forces in the region, there seemed to be the real possibility of another conflict in the Middle East, potentially even more devastating than the Iraq War. Even now, the situation remains fraught.
But while Trump’s push for dialogue with Rouhani might reduce the risk of conflict, it may also run counter to the views of some of his closest allies both at home and abroad. Mike Pompeo, Trump’s ever-loyal secretary of state, made his name in the House of Representatives opposing the 2015 nuclear deal that the United States signed under the Obama administration.
Earlier this year, Pompeo made a list of 12 strict demands that Iran would need to meet to rejoin negotiations. Trump contradicted this on Monday by suggesting that he could seek a “very simple” deal with Iran that focused on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. “Pompeo and Trump’s negotiating divergences cannot be ignored,” Tom Rogan of the Washington Examiner argues. “They are now crystal clear.”