Report: Trump invited Iran FM Zarif to White House

AFPWASHINGTON (AFP-Jiji) — U.S. President Donald Trump invited Iran’s foreign minister to the White House last month at the height of tensions between the two countries, a magazine reports.

The invitation, extended by Sen. Rand Paul with permission from the president, was turned down for now, The New Yorker reported Friday. The minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said it was up to Tehran to decide on accepting it. Neither the White House nor the State Department responded to AFP requests for comment on the report, which quoted U.S. and Iranian sources and what the magazine called a well-placed diplomat.

Zarif told the magazine he would not want a White House meeting that yielded just a photo op and a two-page statement afterward, The New Yorker said.

Trump has said publicly several times that he is willing to hold talks with the Iranians even as he lambasts Tehran as a corrupt, incompetent and dangerous regime that is a threat to regional security and U.S. interests.

Last year Trump pulled the U.S. out of an international accord designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program, and has reimposed sanctions on Iran — and even slapped them on Zarif — in an effort to force it to renegotiate the agreement.Speech

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