Trump Says U.S. Not Seeking Regime Change in Iran

President Donald Trump, who is currently visiting Japan, voiced optimism Monday about future talks with Iran, adding that despite heightened tensions with the country, the U.S. was not seeking regime change.

“I’m not looking to hurt Iran at all. I’m looking to have Iran say, ‘no nuclear weapons’,” Trump said during a press conference in Japan.

His comments represented a stark shift from previous remarks that war would be “the official end of Iran.” However, despite Trump’s softer approach toward possible negotiations with Tehran, there are slim chances the two countries would engage in any nuclear talks, particularly at a time when the United States is planning to deploy thousands of additional troops to the Middle East in what it says is an effort to fend off Iran.

Regarding Iran’s nuclear program, the President made similar comments to those he has made about North Korea, stressing that Iran has “tremendous economic potential” and will eventually give up its nuclear weapons to fulfill that potential on the world stage.

“I think we’ll make a deal. I think Iran, again I think Iran has tremendous economic potential. and I look forward to letting them get back to the stage where they can show that,” said Trump. “These are great people. It has a chance to be a great country, with the same leadership. We’re not looking for regime change. I just want to make that clear. We’re looking for no nuclear weapons.”

President Trump also noted that he was open to Japan’s help in renegotiating a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

“I know for a fact that the prime minister is very close with the leadership of Iran, and we’ll see what happens,” Trump said, according to Reuters.

His remarks followed those of National Security Advisor John Bolton’s that intelligence indicated Iran posed a serious threat to U.S. forces in the region.

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