Possible Trump-Rouhani Meeting at UN Less Likely; Sanctions Continue to Cripple Iranian Economy

Rumors swirled before the Saudi oil field attack that Trump might meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York during a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. Trump told reporters at the White House that, “It could happen. It could happen. No problem with me.” Reported by Reuters. Read more…

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said that a meeting between the two was possible and could occur with “no preconditions.” Reported by Reuters. Read more…

Trump and his top officials even reportedly discussed the possibility of easing sanctions on Iran to bring about a meeting with Rouhani. According to a report in Bloomberg, former National Security Advisor John Bolton argued forcefully against such a meeting;  treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin argued in favor of easing sanctions. The rift reportedly led to Bolton’s dismissal as national security advisor. Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

After Bolton’s dismissal, Iran urged the U.S. to “put warmongers aside.” Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

Meanwhile, Trump says he believes Iran’s leadership wants to talk. Reported by Yahoo. Read more…

The U.S. reassured Israel that the U.S. would not lift sanctions on Iran even if Trump met with Rouhani. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

During a meeting in Ankara between Turkey, Russia, and Iran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reportedly stated that one of the biggest problems in Syria was American and Israel aggression. Rouhani said that the “presence of American military forces in a United Nations member and independent country such as Syria endangers its territorial integrity and national sovereignty” and that “American forces should leave the country at once.” Reported by i24 News. Read more… 

And Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ruled out negotiations with the U.S. after tensions rose in the wake of the attack on Saudi oilfields. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Sanctions imposed by the U.S. continue to cripple Iran’s economy. The U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal has left pension funds throughout Iran on the brink of collapse. U.S. officials are using this as evidence the “maximum pressure” campaign is working. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that “They have fewer resources. We can see it with the Shia militias in Iraq. They’re scrambling for resources. We think the Iranian government will shrink, that their GDP will shrink by as much as 12 or 14 percent this year.” Pompeo also said, “This will reduce their capacity to purchase the things they need, the equipment they need, the materials they need, to inflict terror around the world.” Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Finally, Britain has accused Iran of breaching its promises that it would not sell oil to Syria from a tanker the British seized in Gibraltar in July. The tanker Darya I was the subject of intense news coverage after it was released, showing it traveling towards Syria and Turkey. Reported by The Guardian. Read more…