Update: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reportedly denied the CNN reports that Rouhani is willing to meet with Trump at the UN. Bloomberg reports that Zarif says "a meeting with Trump isn't possible at this time," adding that there's been no request to meet with President Trump.
Additionally, IRNA reports that Iran is requesting a $15 billion credit - in lieu of lost deals with France over sanctions - before US talks can resume.
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Despite the United States vowing it would make its case against Iran at this week's United Nations Assembly meeting in New York, especially regarding its alleged role in the Saudi Aramco attack, we could see an opening of direct dialogue between Tehran and Washington this week.
This after CNN’s Christiane Amanpour indicated Sunday that President Hassan Rouhani may be willing to meet with President Trump on the sidelines of the assembly. The prominent CNN news host revealed the information in a tweet based on a new interview she did with Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif.
Amanpour said, citing Iran FM Zarif's words, that “President Rouhani is willing to meet with President Trump in New York this week ‘provided that President Trump is ready to do what’s necessary,’ exchanging sanctions relief for ‘permanent monitoring of Iranian nuclear facilities.'”
NEW: Iranian FM @JZarif tells me today that President Rouhani is willing to meet with President Trump in New York this week “provided that President Trump is ready to do what's necessary,” exchanging sanctions relief for “permanent monitoring of Iranian nuclear facilities.” pic.twitter.com/oozihdsiVN— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) September 22, 2019
Amanpour further quoted Zarif as saying in a follow-up tweet:
“The olive branch has always been on the table, but we’re showing it again.”
Over the past month mixed signals have come out of the White House — at times Trump has gone so far as to float 'no preconditions' talks, but at others has lambasted "fake news" about face-to-face talks.
Rouhani is actually scheduled to meet with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the sideline of the UN assembly on Tuesday, despite Johnson's recent statements pointing the finger at Tehran for the Saudi Aramco attack, and his further indicating he's not ruled out military action against Iran.
But there could be a rapid thawing of tensions given on Monday Iran announced it has freed the 2-month detained British-flagged Stena Impero, in what appears a good will gesture just ahead of the key meeting the PM Johnson.
Whether Rouhani and Trump actually meet could depend on developments in the meeting with PM Johnson, where the Iranian leader will likely be pressed over possible involvement in the Saudi Aramco attack.
At the UN assembly itself the Iranians are expected to propose a new plan to deescalate regional tensions, which it has called the 'Hormuz Peace Endeavor' — and would involve a gulf countries only patrol of the Persian Gulf, presumably led by Iran itself.
Zarif told reporters while in New York that under the plan “all the coastal states of the Persian Gulf are invited to join this coalition to provide and maintain regional security.”
The Iranians are also expected this week to argue vehemently against the US-led "illegal and unjust" sanctions targeting the country. “The cruel actions that have been taken against the Iranian nation and also the difficult and complicated issues that our region faces with them need to be explained to the people and countries of the world,” Zarif said to reporters.