(Persia Digest) - US President Donald Trump says he has no plans to meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, but he is open to hearing his "Hormuz Peace Initiative" at the UN General Assembly in New York.
"I'm always open. I have no plans to meet with them, but I'm always open," Trump said Sunday in Houston, when asked if he was open to hearing Rouhani's plan.
Press TV reports that the Iranian president, who will depart for New York to attend the UN General Assembly meeting in the coming hours, said on Sunday he will present at the United Nations this year an initiative for regional cooperation to ensure peace in the Strait of Hormuz.
“This year at the United Nations, we will present to the world the Hormuz Peace Initiative — the gist of which is love and hope — with the slogan ‘The coalition of hope,’” he said.
Asked about a meeting with President Rouhani, Trump told reporters he would meet if Iranians wanted "but I have absolutely no plans to meet."
"We'll see what happens. Certainly the United Nations Week is going to be very interesting. I look forward to it," he added.
Rouhani 'willing to meet Trump' if sanctions lifted
A few hours after Trump's remarks about the possibility of a meeting with Rouhani, CNN's Christiane Amanpour quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying that the Iranian president was willing to meet Trump in New York "provided that President Trump is ready to do what's necessary."
Zarif reportedly said the meeting is possible if the US lifts the sanctions against Iran in exchange for permanent monitoring of the country's nuclear facilities.
NEW: Iranian FM @JZarif tells me today that President Rouhani is willing to meet with President Trump in New York this week “provided that President Trump is ready to do what's necessary,” exchanging sanctions relief for “permanent monitoring of Iranian nuclear facilities.” pic.twitter.com/oozihdsiVN
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) September 22, 2019
Iran to enter into talks if US ends economic war
Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi also said on Sunday that negotiations between Tehran and Washington would be possible if the latter ends its economic war against the Islamic Republic.
"Not only Iran, but no country will negotiate under pressure," Araqchi said, stressing that Iran first needs a ceasefire in the US economic war in order to do real talks and find sustainable solutions.
Speaking at the Iranian mission to the UN in New York, Araqchi said Tehran was prepared to negotiate with the US within the framework of a P5+1 meeting provided that the US returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it unilaterally left last year.
He also pointed to the "maximum pressure" policy of the Trump administration against Iran, saying the pressure has produced maximum resistance from Iran, and the country will continue to resist.
Araqchi also warned that if the maximum pressure turns into military pressure, Tehran will react with military resistance.
Araqchi and Zarif have already arrived in New York ahead of President Rouhani's visit.
While in New York, the Iranian president is to hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of France, the UK, Japan, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Iraq and Pakistan, among others, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.
Rouhani will also hold a meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, meet senior managers of international news media and US elites, hold a press conference, and deliver a speech at the UN General Assembly.
He will also have interviews with two major US TV channels.
The US issued visas allowing President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to travel to New York after an unnecessary delay.
Some members of the Iranian delegation, including deputies of Rouhani's office and members of his security team, have been denied entry to the US, which is obliged to allow all UN member states to visit the UN headquarters in New York.
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