September 5, 2018 / 6:26 PM / 15 days ago

Trump not concerned with meeting Rouhani, says Iran in 'turmoil'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he remained open to the possibility of talks between Washington and Tehran, but said Iran was in turmoil and struggling to survive.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks before signing an executive order on strengthening retirement security in America at Harris Conference Center in Charlotte, NC, U.S., August 31, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

“Iran is in turmoil right now. They’re in total turmoil,” Trump told reporters before a meeting with Kuwait’s emir, without offering any evidence.

FILE PHOTO: Iran's President Hassan Rouhani attends a news conference at the Chancellery in Vienna, Austria July 4, 2018. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo

“Now they are just worrying about their own survival as a country,” he said. “We’ll see what happens with Iran. Whether they want to talk or not, that’s up to them, not up to me. I will always be available but it doesn’t matter one way or the other.”

In May, Trump withdrew the United States from a 2015 international agreement intended to stall Tehran’s nuclear capabilities and has since reimposed sanctions suspended under the deal.

Trump said in July that he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani without any preconditions to discuss how to improve relations, which Rouhani dismissed.

When asked whether he would be willing to meet Rouhani at the U.N. General Assembly, Trump, who will chair a Security Council meeting at the United Nations on Iran this month, said, “It’s possible. Anything’s possible. Anything’s possible. We’ll see.”

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Makini Brice and Tim Ahmann; Editing by James Dalgleish and Lisa Shumaker

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