Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has claimed that former President Donald Trump tried eight times to hold a meeting between the two leaders, but was pushed back, even as he publicly threatened to wage war and ruin Tehran.
Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal in May 2018, calling it “laughable” and promising to negotiate a new, tougher deal. But despite all of its threats against Tehran, the regime refused to sit down with its administration.
Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy has stifled Iranian exports and severely undermined its economy. Iranian leaders celebrated what they claim to be their victory over the hawkish Trump administration, ahead of an expected detente and the revival of the JCPOA under its successor, President Joe Biden.
Trump may have been removed from office, but Iranian leaders still deplore the impact of his sanctions and warn the new administration to break with this strategy. Tehran is also taking the opportunity to mock the former president and undermine the position of Iranian hawks who retain their influence over US foreign policy and the military establishment.
Rohani said in a cabinet session on Wednesday that Trump left the JCPOA under pressure from Israel and Saudi Arabia, but still tried to open diplomatic channels with Tehran months after his withdrawal.
“We went to the United Nations at the end of September 2018, and on the first day of the General Assembly, after Trump’s speech, he sent me eight texts and wanted to meet with me,” Rohani said, according to the agency. Mehr press. . “I rejected,” he added.
Newsweek has reached out to Trump’s press team to seek comment on Rouhani’s claim.
Despite his threats to Iran, Trump has remained open to meeting Rouhani for much of his presidency. In August 2019, the former president told reporters there was “a very good chance” that he would meet his Iranian counterpart, even as the two sides were engaged in a military strategy in the Persian Gulf.
Relations then deteriorated further, starting with the US assassination of senior Iranian commander Major General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in January 2020. Iran responded with a ballistic missile strike against bases Iraqi soldiers sheltering American troops, injuring more than 100.
Tehran then accidentally shot down a passenger plane outside of Tehran, with air defense units on alert for a US strike.
But even after this series of events brought both sides to the brink of war, Trump still believed he could strike a deal with Tehran. In June, he warned Iranian leaders: “Don’t wait until after the US election to close the Big Deal. I will win. You will get a better deal now!”
This photo shows former President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One at the Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga. January 4, 2021. MANDEL NGAN / AFP via Getty Images / Getty
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