US President Donald Trump is ready to meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani without preconditions as the “maximum pressure” campaign continues, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday.
“Now the president has made it clear he will be pleased to have a meeting without preconditions, but we will continue to campaign maximum pressure”, the minister said, days after Iran announced the installation of centrifuges to increase its stockpiles of enriched uranium.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was with Mnuchin at the White House, said “certainly” when asked whether Trump might meet Rouhani later this month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The remarks came just 90 minutes after Trump announced the removal of John Bolton, his national security adviser.
But Mnuchin ridiculed speculation that Bolton’s hardline departure could signal a more moderate policy toward Iran, and stressed new sanctions against 15 people and entities linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, ISIS, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
“You know we have imposed sanctions on Iran more than any other party, and these sanctions are producing results”, Mnuchin said.
“I would like to say that Secretary Pompeo and I and the president are in perfect harmony with regard to our campaign to exert maximum pressure”.
The announcement of new sanctions comes on the eve of the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Pompeo said the sanctions add “more power to US counterterrorism efforts” and will help ensure that the deadly attacks of September 11, 18 years ago, on US soil are not repeated.