Trump: If Iran wants to talk - that's fine

Trump in France: If Iran wants to talk, we'll talk - but they can't have nuclear weapons.

Ben Ariel ,

Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron
Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron

US President Donald Trump on Thursday said it was "fine" for him if Iran wanted to hold talks, adding the Islamic Republic was currently "failing as a nation", AFP reports.

Speaking after talks in northern France with French President Emmanuel Macron, an ardent supporter of diplomacy with Iran, Trump indicated he could consider talking to Tehran.

"I understand they want to talk and if they want to talk that's fine," said Trump.

"We'll talk but the one thing that they can't have is they can't have nuclear weapons," he added, according to AFP.

Trump said when he came to power Iran was "undisputed champions of terror" but indicated activity had slackened in recent times.

"They're not doing that anymore. They're doing very poorly as a nation. They're failing as a nation," asserted the US President.

Trump referred to the US sanctions against Iran which are battering the Iranian economy especially since Washington pulled out of the nuclear deal.

"I don't want them to fail as a nation. We can turn that around very quickly but the sanctions have been extraordinary," he said.

Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers last May, and has since imposed several rounds of crippling sanctions on Iran.

Tensions between the two countries have been on the rise in recent weeks, after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.

While Trump has urged Iran’s leaders to talk with him about giving up their nuclear program, he has also made clear he could not rule out a military confrontation with the Islamic Republic.

Although EU leaders were angered by Trump's pullout from the 2015 nuclear deal and have been scrambling to save it, the US President said he and Macron did not have differences on how to handle Iran.

Macron said the US shared the same four objectives on Iran -- to prevent it obtaining nuclear weapons, reduce its activities in ballistics, contain Iran's operations in the region and promote regional peace.

The French president said that in order to achieve such objectives "you need to start a negotiation" and applauded Trump's apparent readiness to hold talks.

"I think the words pronounced from President Trump today are very important," said Macron, speaking in English. "We need to open a new negotiation."