US President Donald Trump claims Washington is ready to make a “real deal” with Iran over the country’s nuclear program, a significant retreat from his blustery rhetoric just days after he threatened the Islamic Republic with incredible hardships.
“Iran is not the same country anymore, that I can say,” Trump said Tuesday during a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) national convention in the US state of Missouri. “And we’ll see what happens, but we’re ready to make a real deal, not the deal that was done by the previous administration, which was a disaster.”
Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015, and that he planned to reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on Tehran.
Trump on Monday threatened Iran with hardship “the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”
Trump’s pugnacious message on his official Twitter account in all capital letters late Sunday came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s warning to him not to “twist the lion’s tail” after the US unveiled a series of anti-Iran measures.
Rouhani said the United States should know that peace with Iran will be the mother of all peace while war with the country will be the mother of all wars.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also warned the US president to be cautious after his threats.
“COLOR US UNIMPRESSED: The world heard even harsher bluster a few months ago. And Iranians have heard them —albeit more civilized ones—for 40 yrs. We’ve been around for millennia & seen fall of empires, including our own, which lasted more than the life of some countries. BE CAUTIOUS! ,” Tweeted Zarif on Monday.
Mattis: Iran ‘on the wrong track’
Also on Tuesday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis defended Trump’s all-caps tweet earlier this week and said the US president’s threat against Iran was meant to make clear to Tehran “that they’re on the wrong track,” given the “destabilizing influence that Iran has consistently portrayed and demonstrated throughout the region.”
Reiterating previous accusations regarding Iran’s undermining security and stability in the Middle East, Mattis launched into a litany of examples of Iran’s behavior and claimed, “the only reason that the murderer [Syrian president Bashar al-] Assad is still in power is that Iran has stuck by him … and funded him.’’
The US defense secretary also claimed that “we see the same kind of malfeasance down in Yemen, where they’re fomenting more violence. We’ve seen their disruptive capabilities demonstrated’’ repeatedly.
“It’s time for Iran to shape up and show responsibility as a responsible nation… so I think the president was making very clear that they’re on the wrong track,” Mattis concluded.