by our Arab Affairs correspondent

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump says he’s ready to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani without preconditions amidst reports that American diplomats have made similar appeals to the Iranians at United Nations HQ in New York on eight separate occasions, all to no avail. The Iranians say that the USA’s unreliability makes engagement and dialogue with the current US government impossible, but reports in the Arab media say that Iranian and Israeli representatives held secret talks in Jordan in May and that covert discussions with the Americans may also be taking place.

In 2015, Iran and five permanent members of the UN Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the USA — plus Germany signed an agreement to restrict Iran’s nuclear development in return for lifting crippling economic sanctions.

Trump tore up that agreement in May and vowed to restore the sanctions regime against the Islamic Republic. The chief American warlord said that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as it is officially known, was “a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made” and added “it didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will”.

Trump made his very public offer at a joint news conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Washington on Monday. Touting his “great” meetings with Chairman Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin, Trump said that such meetings had led to good results. “I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet. I don’t know that they’re ready yet. I ended the Iran deal. It was a ridiculous deal,” Trump said. “I do believe that they will probably end up wanting to meet, and I’m ready to meet anytime they want to,” he added.

The following day Trump repeated his offer at a rally in Florida, where he told his supporters that such a meeting could happen “pretty soon”.

Britain, Russia, China and the European Union as a whole have repeatedly stressed that keeping the deal is in the interest of the world peace and security. Many believe Trump’s unilateral action was influenced by the Zionists and the feudal Arab rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). But he now seems to be having second thoughts.

Some believe that the Saudis promised to make up for a projected drop in Iranian oil exports after the US sanctions take effect in November — a promise they clearly cannot deliver.

Trump may be ready to talk to the Iranians. Whether they want to talk to him is another matter. This week Iran’s presidential office said: “Respecting the Iranian nation’s rights, reducing hostilities and returning to the nuclear deal are steps that can be taken to pave the bumpy road of talks between Iran and America.”

The Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, publicly responded to Trump’s offer on Tuesday, telling reporters that: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is always ready to develop relations with European countries, and now, after the USA’s illegal withdrawal from the JCPOA, the ball is in Europe’s court in the limited time remaining.”

Rouhani said that Iran “has never sought tensions in the region and does not want any problem to happen for world’s waterways,” a veiled reference to Iran’s ability to block feudal Arab oil exports by mining the Persian Gulf in any future conflict. The Iranian president said that the Islamic Republic “will never let go of its rights to export oil” and the “United States, if it wants to continue talking with Iran, it has no choice but to go back to the nuclear agreement.&rdquo