Iran says US must return to nuclear deal before meeting with Trump

Iran says US must return to nuclear deal before meeting with Trump

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Iran has said that the US must return to the Iranian nuclear agreement before there is any possibility of direct talks as suggested by Donald Trump. The Iranian government was responding to a comment by Mr Trump on Monday that he would be prepared to sit down with Iranian leaders without preconditions “anytime they want”.  “Respecting the Iranian nation’s rights, reducing hostilities and returning to the nuclear deal are steps that can be taken to pave the bumpy road of talks between Iran and America,” said Hamid Aboutalebi, an advisor to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.  Iran's foreign ministry said a meeting was "definitely not" possible under the administration's current policies. It was not clear how seriously Mr Trump was proposing a meeting, which would be the first encounter between US and Iranian leaders since the 1979 Revolution.  Mr Trump made the suggestion in response to a question from a reporter at the White House on Monday. “I’ll meet with anybody. I believe in meeting,” Mr Trump said. “If they want to meet, I’ll meet.  Anytime they want.” Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, appeared to contradict Mr Trump on Tuesday when he said the US had several preconditions before talks.  He said Iran must demonstrate a willingess to make "fundamental changes in how they treat their own people" as well curbing their interference in neighbouring countries like Iraq and Syria.   Mr Trump pointed to his recent meetings with Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un as proof of the success of his personal diplomacy.  There is virtually no chance the US would return to the nuclear deal, as demanded by Iran. Mr Trump described the 2015 agreement as “a ridiculous deal” and said he was proud to have withdrawn.  Mr Rouhani said Tuesday the US withdrawal was “illegal” and that the ball is “in Europe’s court” to try to keep the deal from collapsing entirely.   The US has set a deadline of November 4 for countries around the world to stop buying Iranian oil or else face American sanctions.  The US has so far insisted it is prepared to impose sanctions even on European allies if they do not halt oil imports from Iran.  Iran’s currency has been plunging ahead of the restoration of US sanctions next week, sparking widespread protests across the country.  The government sacked the country’s central bank chief last week amid anger over the economic turmoil.  Iran has periodically threatened to block the Straits of Hormuz, a narrow waterway through which 20 per cent of the world’s oil flows, if Iran is isolated from the global economy.  The US military has warned it is prepared to take action to keep the straits open and prevent chaos in global oil markets.