US President Donald Trump referring to his withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement has said Iran wants to negotiate a deal “so badly”.
In a campaign rally speech in Cincinnati, Ohio, Trump said it was to protect American security that he withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear accord is known.
“Iran is a much different country than 2 ½ years ago when I took over. It was all over… Now… Now they just want to negotiate a deal so badly,” Trump told the audience attending the rally.
In recent weeks, Trump and his administration officials have repeatedly said the US is ready to negotiate with Iran without preconditions.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on August 1 said that "perhaps in the coming weeks we will reach positive results" in talks with signatories of the nuclear deal.
Trump also claimed that “we gave them $150 billion,” referring to the lifting of international sanctions as a result of the nuclear agreement.
Independent estimates put the actual benefit Iran received after the deal was concluded closer to $50 billion.
It is not clear if there are any backdoor contacts taking place, but Iran publicly says the US should first return to the nuclear agreement.
Trump also drew attention to cash deliveries to Tehran in the last months of the Obama administration to settle monetary disputes, which remained unresolved for decades.
“We gave Iran $1.8 billion in cash, planeloads of cash. I wonder what they thought when those planes landed. I wonder what happened to the cash. Can you believe it? $1.8 billion we gave them in cash,” Trump said.