WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday a lot of progress had been made with Iran and that he was not looking for regime change in Tehran, but said the US wanted the Islamic republic to “get out of Yemen.”
Trump, who made the remarks at a Cabinet meeting in the White House, did not give details about the progress, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the meeting Iran had said it was prepared to negotiate about its missile program.
After threats from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s ultimate authority, to push on with breaches of the nuclear deal, Trump suggested to the Cabinet meeting that Iran wanted to talk with its archenemy. “A lot of progress has been made. We’ll see what happens. But a lot of progress has been made,” Trump said.
Trump said the Iran nuclear pact agreed under his predecessor Barack Obama was too weak to prevent Tehran developing atomic bombs. “They can’t have a nuclear weapon. We want to help them. We’ll be good to them, we’ll work with them. We’ll help them in any way we can, but they can’t have a nuclear weapon. We’re not looking, by the way, for regime change.” He added: “They (also) can’t be testing ballistic missiles.”
US Secretary State Mike Pompeo told the Cabinet meeting at the White House that Iran had signaled it was prepared to negotiate about its ballistic missiles. “The Iranian regime is struggling to figure out what they’re going to do with their economy because we’ve been terribly effective,” Pompeo said.
“And the result is … frankly, I think it was yesterday, maybe the day before, for the first time the Iranians have said that they’re prepared to negotiate about their missile program. So we will have this opportunity, I hope, if we continue to execute our strategy appropriately, we’ll have this opportunity to negotiate a deal that will actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”