President Trump on Wednesday left open the possibility of meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations General Assembly later this month in New York City.
“Sure. Anything’s possible. They would like to be able to solve their problems. They’ve got a big problem. They’re getting killed financially,” Trump told reporters at a White House hurricane briefing when asked about a possible meeting.
Trump said he appreciates French President Emmanuel Macron‘s efforts to broker talks between him and Rouhani, but that the U.S. would handle negotiations on its own terms.
“We don’t need anybody to deal,” he said. “We can deal directly if we want. But other countries are offering help. They’d like to see it straightened out.”
Trump reiterated his belief that Iran has “tremendous” economic potential, and suggested that the country’s leaders would not want to squander that by escalating tensions.
“Iran has tremendous potential,” he said. “And I can’t imagine they’re going to want to go through what they’re going to have to go through if they want to do it the hard way.”
The argument echoed his approach to denuclearization talks with North Korea, which have thus far yielded no concrete commitments.
Trump has repeatedly voiced confidence that Iran will come to the table to negotiate after he withdrew from the Obama-era nuclear deal with Tehran. But Iranian leaders have thrown cold water on possible talks.
In the meantime, the U.S. has ratcheted up sanctions on Iran.
The State Department announced Wednesday that it is offering a reward of up to $15 million for information that can help disrupt the financial apparatus of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.