President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that Washington is ready to negotiate on an agreement to denuclearize Iran, just two days after he threatened Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with “dire consequences”, Reuters informed.
“We’ll see what happens, but we’re ready to make a real deal, not the deal that was done by the previous administration, which was a disaster,” Trump said during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Trump’s defense secretary, James Mattis, declined to directly answer a question about whether he was concerned that Trump’s latest rhetoric on Iran might worsen tensions in the region, increasing the chances of miscalculation.
Mattis listed his many concerns about Iranian actions in the Middle East, including Tehran’s support for President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war and for Houthi militants fighting the internationally recognized government in Yemen.
“It’s time for Iran to shape up and show responsibility as a responsible nation. It cannot continue to show irresponsibility as a revolutionary organization that is intent on exporting terrorism, exporting disruption, across the region. So I think the President was making very clear that they’re on the wrong track,” Mattis pointed out.
Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg, the war of words between Trump and Rouhani over oil exports and sanctions, shines a spotlight on the narrow, twisting channel for about 30 percent of the world’s seaborne-traded crude. The Middle East’s biggest oil exporters rely on the Strait of Hormuz, the passage linking the Arabian Gulf with global waterways, for the vast majority of their crude shipments – around 17.5 million barrels a day.
As tensions between Washington and Tehran intensified, Iran renewed its threats to block the Strait, Bloomberg added. Last week Trump warned Rouhani to “never, ever threaten the United States,” just hours after the Iranian leader warned the U.S. against endangering Iranian oil exports and called for improved relations with neighbors, including rival Saudi Arabia.