Donald Trump has said he is willing to meet Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani “if the circumstances were correct”.
The US president told a news conference at the G7 summit that Tehran had to be “good players” before he would agree to a summit following heightened tensions between the two countries in recent months.
“I think Iran is a country of tremendous potential,” Mr Trump said.
“We’re not looking for leadership change. We’re not looking for that kind of change. This country’s been through that many times before – that doesn’t work.”
He added: “I really believe that Iran can be a great nation – I’d like to see that happen – but they can’t have nuclear weapons.”
Mr Trump did not commit to a time frame for a potential meeting, saying it could only happen “if the circumstances were correct or right”.
But Emmanuel Macron, who appeared alongside Mr Trump at the news conference in Biarritz, France, said he hoped for a meeting in the “coming weeks”.
The French president said the surprise invitation of Iran’s foreign minister on the sidelines of the G7 summit offered a “road map” to end a US-Iran nuclear impasse.
Mr Trump confirmed he gave his approval for the invitation to Mohammad Javad Zarif, despite new US sanctions against the envoy.
Earlier on Monday, Mr Rouhani said he was ready to meet anyone if he felt it would benefit Iran.
“If I knew that going to a meeting and visiting a person would help my country’s development and resolve the problems of the people, I would not miss it,” he said.
Relations between the US and Iran have soured since the re-imposition of sanctions following the US withdrawal from a 2015 deal to limit Tehran’s nuclear activities last year.
There have also been tensions over the Iranian oil tanker detained off Gibraltar, which has since been released and prompted Tehran to retaliate by seizing the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero.
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