Iranian officials rebuff Trump meeting offer

The Wall Street Journal |Asa Fitch and Aresu Eqbali: Domestic pressure on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to take a more hard-line stance toward the U.S. after Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal gives him little leeway to accept President Trump’s offer to meet.

Mr. Trump on Monday suggested that a meeting between the two leaders could take place with no preconditions, just a week after trading threats with the Iranian president. But anger among Iranians has swelled against the Trump administration since it pulled out in May from the 2015 deal, an Obama -era pact that gave Tehran relief from international sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Ali Motahari, the deputy speaker of Iran’s parliament, said that now that the U.S. has withdrawn Iranian engagement could be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

“Today, negotiations with the U.S. bring humiliation,” he said Tuesday according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. “For now, it’s not appropriate to talk with the U.S.”

The withdrawal is reverberating through Iran’s political system, damaging moderates and reformists who championed the diplomacy and saw relief from sanctions as the ticket to economic prosperity. Hard-line opponents of engagement with the West, in turn, have gained stature from Mr. Trump’s move, which validated their argument that the U.S. can’t be trusted.

 

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