U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he wanted to see a strong Iran and was not seeking a change of leadership in Tehran, adding that the standard of living for ordinary Iranians was unacceptable.
Trump made the comments to reporters during a summit of the G7 in Biarritz in France.
He said he had not been surprised that France had invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for talks on Sunday on the sidelines of the G7 gathering, which were aimed at trying to ease tensions between Washington and Tehran.
However, he said he had not wanted to see Zarif himself, adding that it was too soon for such an encounter.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington that have risen sharply since Trump pulled out of Iran’s internationally brokered 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the Iranian economy.
“What we want is very simple. It’s got to be non-nuclear. We’re going to talk about ballistic missiles, we’re going to talk about the timing,” he said, adding: “But they have to stop terrorism. I think they are going to change, I really do. I think they have a chance.”
The G7 meeting will close today with discussions of world problems including the fires in the Amazon rainforest but overshadowed by Trump’s trade wars and questions over the group’s unity.
The formal agenda at the summit today is about climate, biodiversity, and the Oceans, followed by a session on digital transformation.
The discussions will include five partner countries from Africa, along with the leaders of Australia, India, and Chile.