UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — US President Donald Trump said on Monday he wanted to see a strong Iran and was not seeking a change of leadership there, adding that the standard of living of Iranian citizens was unacceptable.
“I look forward to a really good Iran, really strong, we are not seeking regime change,” Trump told reporters at a summit of G7 leaders. You have seen how things have been going on for the last 20 years, it has never been good.”
He said he was not surprised by France’s invitation to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for talks on Sunday on the sidelines of the summit aimed at trying to ease tensions between Washington and Tehran.
But he said he did not want to meet Zarif in person and that such a meeting was too early.
“I knew he was coming and I respected that. We are looking to make Iran rich again, let them become rich … if they want.
“Or they can be as poor as possible. I tell you that I don’t think the way they are forced to live in Iran is acceptable.”
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen sharply since Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions on Iran’s economy.
“What we want is very simple,” Trump said. It must be non-nuclear. We will talk about ballistic missiles and talk about timing.
“But they have to stop terrorism. I think they will change, I really think so. I think they have a chance.”
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