Zarif: Rouhani willing to meet Trump provided he is 'ready to do what's necessary'

“Provided that President Trump is ready to do what's necessary,” said Zarif according to Amanpour, which would exchange sanctions relief for the “permanent monitoring of Iranian nuclear facilities.”

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September 23, 2019 14:04
1 minute read.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends India-Iran business forum in New Delhi, India,

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends India-Iran business forum in New Delhi, India, January 8, 2019.. (photo credit: REUTERS/ANUSHREE FADNAVIS)

CNN's Christiane Amanpour interviewed Iran's Foreign Minister Javid Zarif Sunday, when the journalist claimed that Zarif asserted that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would be willing to meet United States President Donald Trump in New York at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this week if certain conditions were met.

“Provided that President Trump is ready to do what's necessary,” said Zarif according to Amanpour, which would exchange sanctions relief for the “permanent monitoring of Iranian nuclear facilities.”

Many of the Iranians within Rouhani's delegation for the UNGA have yet to receive visas for the trip. Amid the tensions, their visas were delayed and days earlier Tehran mulled about canceling the trip entirely.

Rouhani's visa was issued, however, with limited-travel restrictions; the Iranian president can only travel between his Manhattan accommodations, the U.N. headquarters and the Iranian embassy.

“So they made it very clear in a letter that they attached to my visa that I'm not eligible to get a visa, but they're doing it on a waiver basis. So they want me to know that I'm not supposed to be here,” Zarif said to CBS's Face the Nation.

The unexpected statement comes amid ongoing tensions between Iran, the United States and its allies. Most recently, the American accusation and Iran's denial of bombing of a major Saudi Arabian oil facility last week. Prior to that was the seizure of shipping vessels and suspicious activities along the Hormuz Strait – and long before those incidents – the United States' abandonment of the nuclear deal with the Iran.

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group last week attacked two Saudi Aramco plants, including the world's biggest oil processing facility, sparking fires in the latest flare up of violence in the Gulf. Iran has persistently denied any involvement.

Following the US accusation aginst the Islamic Republic for the attack, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ruled out all talks with the United States at all levels. Zarif has made no official response to Amanpour's claims.

When CBS asked Zarif if he believes Iran and the United States can avoid war, he replied: "“No. No, I'm not confident that we can avoid a war. We, I'm confident that we will not start one but I'm confident that whoever starts one will not be the one who finishes it.”


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