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Trump says he does not want regime change
BIARRITZ, France, Aug 26, (Agencies): French President Emannuel Macron said on Monday that preparations were under way for a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US President Donald Trump in the coming weeks to find a solution to the nuclear standoff. “Two things are very important for us: Iran must never have nuclear weapons, and this situation should never threaten regional stability,” he told a news conference at the end of a meeting of G7 leaders in Biarritz, France.
He said that discussions were under way to arrange a summit. “What I hope is that in coming weeks, based on these talks, we can manage to see a summit between President Rouhaini and President Trump.” Trump and Rouhani are both expected to be at the UN General Assembly in New York at the end of September. Trump said on Monday he wanted to see a strong Iran and was not seeking a change of leadership in Tehran, adding that the standard of living for ordinary Iranians was unacceptable. “I’m looking at a really good Iran, really strong, we’re not looking for regime change. You’ve seen how that works over the last 20 years, that hasn’t been too good,”
Trump told reporters during a summit of wealthy nation leaders. He said he had not been surprised that France had invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for talks on Sunday on the sidelines of the G7 gathering, which were aimed at trying to ease tensions between Washington and Tehran. However, he said he had not wanted to see Zarif himself, adding that it was too soon for such an encounter. “I knew he was coming in and I respected the fact that he was coming in. And we’re looking to make Iran rich again, let them be rich, let them do well, if they want,” he said. “Or they can be poor as can be. And I tell you what, I don’t think it’s acceptable the way they are being forced to live in Iran,” he said. Tensions between Tehran and Washington that have risen sharply since Trump pulled out of Iran’s internationally-brokered 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the Iranian economy.
“What we want is very simple. It’s got to be non-nuclear. We’re going to talk about ballistic missiles, we’re going to talk about the timing,” he said, adding: “But they have to stop terrorism. I think they are going to change, I really do. I think they have a chance.” Iran’s president is defending his foreign minister’s surprise visit to the G-7 summit, saying he’s himself ready to go anywhere to negotiate a way out of the crisis following the US pullout from the nuclear deal.
Rouhani said in a televised speech Monday: “If I knew that going to a meeting and visiting a person would help my country’s development and resolve the problems of the people, I would not miss it.” Rouhani stressed that “we have to negotiate, we have to find a solution, and we have to solve the problem.” He added there will be a meeting of Iranian officials later in the day to discuss Zarif’s visit Sunday to France’s Biarritz, where leaders of the Group of Seven rich democracies were meeting. The rejection of international law is on the rise, Zarif said on Monday, during a meeting in Beijing with the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi. “Rejection of international law, not just lack of respect for international law, but, in fact, contempt for international law, is on the rise and we need to work together,” Zarif told Wang, in comments in front of reporters. Zarif said he was in Beijing to brief the Chinese official on his recent meetings in France on the Iran nuclear deal, but he gave no details.
Zarif arrived in China after a visit to the G7 summit for talks with host France, as Paris ramped up efforts to ease tension between Tehran and Washington, a dramatic diplomatic move that the White House said had surprised it. The 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers aimed to curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of many international sanctions on Tehran. Since pulling Washington out of the deal last year, Trump has pushed a maximum-pressure policy to try to force Iran into a new negotiation that would include its ballistic missile programme and regional activities. China has close energy and diplomatic ties with Iran, and is one of the signatories to the nuclear deal, which it says must be upheld.