offer of dialogue with Tehran belies a hardening of US policy that intensifies economic and diplomatic pressure but so far stops short of using his military to more aggressively counter Iran and its proxies.
The White House clarified that Trump's potential willingness to meet with his Iranian counterpart did not change his administration's intent to ratchet up sanctions and rhetoric against Tehran.
There are many similar examples; what they all have in common is that the United States usually believes that it is too strong to ever offer Tehran any concessions and doing so would ultimately undermine America's standing.
Iran poured scorn yesterday on an offer by President Trump to meet President Rouhani in an attempt to cut a new deal between the countries. I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet.
"Talks with the U.S. would have been right had the USA not withdrawn from the JCPOA and imposed sanctions on Iran", Ali Motahhari said, according to Iran's state-run IRNA news outlet.
Christopher Hill, a former lead United States negotiator with Pyongyang, told MEE at the time that the statement - after the talks - could not be called an agreement. While switching back and forth from good cop to bad cop may work in the real estate sector, or may have proven successful vis-a-vis North Korea, it is not likely to land well in Tehran, and there are several reasons why.
Regime change should be our goal. Unlike the Iran nuclear deal, this proposal was not exclusively focused on nuclear matters: The Iranians offered to help stabilize Iraq, disarm Hezbollah and collaborate against all terrorist organizations (especially al Qaeda).
The global nuclear agreement forced Iran to curtail its uranium enrichment capacity to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, and imposed stringent verification processes, in exchange for relief on crippling sanctions.
The Trump administration regards Iran as a destabilising force in the Middle East, arguing the nuclear deal enabled Iran to pursue a more assertive regional policy.
With "Washington's hostile measures against Tehran and its efforts to put economic pressure on the country and impose sanctions, there will remain no possibility for talks", Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told reporters.
"Negotiations with the United States must not be a taboo", said Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, head of parliament's foreign affairs commission, in an interview with the semi-official ISNA news agency.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington, D.C., on July 30, 2018. Oman, which has good ties with both Washington and Tehran, has served as a facilitator of previous talks between the US and Iran, notably during the Obama administration.
In a tweet responding to Trump's offer, an adviser to President Rouhani later said Iran would be open for talks only if the USA "return [s] to the nuclear deal" and respects "the Iranian nation's rights", per a BBC translation.
Monday's olive branch from Trump marks an abrupt shift in tone, and may be little more than theater with United States midterm elections looming on the horizon.
And Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, said that Trump had been bamboozled into imposing sanctions on the country.
More recently, Trump and Iranian leaders have engaged in a heated war of words.
Iran's oil exports could fall by as much as two-thirds due to the sanctions, straining oil markets.