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Why Is Trump Seeking Meeting with Iran’s Rouhani?

All parties should return to the course of peaceful negotiations to solve the Iran issue, otherwise it could lead to regional and global instability, says scholar

By Xu Mouquan Updated Aug.9

While Washington announced that the Gulf Cooperation Council members and other related countries will meet this October to advance building an Arab “NATO,” US President Donald Trump recently expressed in public his wish to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “with no preconditions.” This contradiction mirrors the dilemma of the Trump administration’s Iran policy, Diao Daming, associate professor of international relations at the Renmin University of China, said in a commentary in The Beijing News. 

Despite his threats against Iran, Trump does not want war, a view shared by the US military. The Trump administration is likely to move after observing what results from the sanctions in August and November, Diao said. It is against this background that the US touted the idea of an Arab “NATO.” Trump seems prepared for a situation where he cannot effectively solve the Iranian issue, while in the meantime consolidating the US’s leading role in the region.

Iran countered Trump's “no precondition” meeting offer with a stern refusal. Seeing the existing Iranian nuclear deal as leading to the expansion of Iran’s influence, Trump wants a new deal that will contain Iran. But this is unacceptable for Iran, which seeks economic and social development, as well as an international standing. 

Diao warned that if Washington is to sanction Iran’s oil and gas industry in November and Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz, it will likely destabilize the region and the world economy. The developments following the US’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal confirm that all parties should return to peaceful negotiations to solve it, he suggested.