The Hill – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview broadcast Sunday that President Trump would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during this week’s United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly gathering.
“I think the president’s been pretty clear about that. He’s happy to talk with folks at any time,” Pompeo said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“If there’s a constructive dialogue to be had, let’s get after it,” he added.
But Pompeo expressed skepticism about a breakthrough in discussions between the U.S. and Iran, saying that the Iranians haven’t shown a willingness to change their behavior to assuage the concerns of U.S. officials.
Pompeo’s interview was taped before Rouhani assailed the U.S. as a “bully toward the rest of the world,” and reportedly blamed America and its allies for assisting in an attack on an Iranian military parade that left at least 25 people dead.
Trump is set to meet with a half-dozen foreign heads of state during this week’s U.N. meetings in New York, though Iran is not on the list. The president will hold one-on-one discussions with the leaders of France, Israel, Egypt, South Korea, Japan and the United Kingdom.
Trump said in July that he would be willing to meet with Iranian leaders without preconditions. The comments marked an abrupt shift in tone from his past comments about Tehran, including one just days earlier in which he warned Rouhani against threatening the U.S.
Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have been heightened in the months since the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, which offered Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for abandoning its nuclear program.
The U.S. has since reimposed some of the sanctions lifted in the deal, crippling the Iranian economy.