U.S. President Donald Trump speaks next to first lady Melania Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper during a ceremony marking the 18th anniversary of September 11 attacks at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., September 11, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump left open on Wednesday the possibility that the United States could ease sanctions on Iran, adding he believes Iran wants to strike a deal with Washington on its nuclear program.
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked about the possibility the United States would ease up on its “maximum pressure” campaign.
Trump’s firing of his hard-line national security adviser, John Bolton, on Tuesday prompted speculation that Washington’s policy toward adversaries such as Iran could ease.
Separately, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran would not negotiate with Washington while sanctions on his country are still being enforced by Washington.
Trump said on Wednesday it would be “very very dangerous” for Iran to enrich uranium, a key step in developing a nuclear weapon, and also said, “I do believe they’d like to make a deal.”
“If they do, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s great too,” he said. “They have tremendous financial difficulty and the sanctions are getting tougher and tougher.”
Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have said the president is open to meeting with Rouhani, possibly at the United Nations General Assembly meeting later this month.
Asked if he was looking at such a meeting, Trump told reporters he was not looking at anything.
Reporting by Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Lisa Lambert; Writing by Tim Ahmann and Susan Heavey; Editing by Chris Reese, Frances Kerry and Tom Brown