Trump: Iran is Now “Different”

June 7, 2018
Updated

On June 7, President Donald Trump said Iran “is a different place” than it was two months ago. “And we'll see what happens. And maybe, ultimately, something will happen with Iran.” He made the cryptic comment amid remarks largely about North Korea before a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House. Iran has witnessed sporadic protests over economic, social and environmental issues since December 2017.

In a joint press conference later in the day, Trump elaborated. “Iran is acting a lot differently. They’re no longer looking so much to the Mediterranean. They’re no longer looking so much to what’s going on in Syria, what’s going on in Yemen and lots of other places.” He also expressed hope for Iranian officials to come back to the negotiating table. “They’re a much, much different group of leaders. And I hope at some point they’ll come to us and we’ll sit down,” he said.

On June 12, after an historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump said that he hoped to negotiate a “real deal” with Iran on its nuclear program. “I hope that, at the appropriate time, after these sanctions kick in — and they are brutal, what we’ve put on Iran — I hope that they’re going to come back and negotiate a real deal, because I’d love to be able to do that,” he said. The following are Iran-related excerpts from his remarks.The following are Iran-related excerpts from his remarks.

 

President Donald Trump

By the way, with Iran, we're adding tremendously powerful sanctions. They understand that very well. I think Iran already is not the same country, if you look -- I don’t think they're looking so much to the Mediterranean like they were two months ago. So it's a big difference. It was, number one, nuclear, but also, out of it, you also get the side benefit that Iran is a different place. And we'll see what happens. And maybe, ultimately, something will happen with Iran.

—June 7, 2018, before a meeting with Prime Minister Abe

 

You have to be able to walk away. If you’re not going to be able to walk away — we didn’t walk away from the horrible Iran deal that was signed. And if you look at what’s happened since I signed that deal, Iran — and in all fairness, I say it with great respect for the people of Iran — but Iran is acting a lot differently. They’re no longer looking so much to the Mediterranean. They’re no longer looking so much to what’s going on in Syria, what’s going on in Yemen and lots of other places. They’re a much different country over the last three months.

And again, I say that with hope that maybe something can happen. But when you mention sanctions, we’re putting sanctions on Iran, the likes of which nobody has ever seen before, including, frankly, North Korea. That would have been the next phase, if we did it or find it necessary to do.

But nuclear to me is always first. And we’re going to be fine, with respect to Iran. But we also, Saagar, got something out of it that’s very important. A lot of the people that write about this, some of whom I have respect for, but they haven’t picked it up: Iran is not the same country that it was a few months ago. They’re a much, much different group of leaders. And I hope at some point they’ll come to us and we’ll sit down, and we’ll make a deal that’s good for them, and good for us, and good for everybody. And it will be great for Iran. I expect it to be — I want it to be great for Iran.

But if they would have walked — our side — from some of the horrible provisions that you know as well as I do, and probably everybody sitting here knows, we could have had a great deal. Nothing wrong with a deal, but there’s something wrong with that deal. We had a great opportunity to make a phenomenal deal.

—June 7, 2018, in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Abe

 

And the Iran deal, I have to be honest, I did it because nuclear is always number one to me. Nuclear is number one.

But on the Iran deal, I think Iran is a different country now than it was three or four months ago. I don’t think they’re looking so much to the Mediterranean. I don’t think they’re looking so much at Syria, like they were, with total confidence. I don’t think they’re so confident right now.

But I hope — with that being said, I hope that, at the appropriate time, after these sanctions kick in — and they are brutal, what we’ve put on Iran — I hope that they’re going to come back and negotiate a real deal, because I’d love to be able to do that. But right now, it’s too soon for that.

—June 12, 2018, during a press conference in Singapore

 

Updated