'If they'd like to talk, we'd like to talk,' says US President Trump on Iran

Agencies New Delhi, Delhi, Japan May 27, 2019, 09.52 AM(IST)

File photo: US President Donald Trump and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. Photograph:( Reuters )

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'We'll see what happens, but I know for a fact that the prime minister (Abe) is very close with the leadership of Iran... nobody wants to see terrible things happen, especially me,' Trump told reporters at Japan Prime Minister's office.

President Donald Trump Monday held out the possibility of talks with Iran, stressing he did not want "terrible things" to happen, amid mounting tensions with the historic American foe.

"I do believe that Iran would like to talk, and if they'd like to talk, we'd like to talk also," Trump told reporters at Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office ahead of a summit between both leaders.

"We'll see what happens, but I know for a fact that the prime minister (Abe) is very close with the leadership of Iran... nobody wants to see terrible things happen, especially me."

Shinzo Abe is reportedly weighing a trip to Tehran in a bid to mediate in the Middle East crisis and Trump appeared to give the green light, saying "we'll see what happens, that would be fine".

Trump is in Japan for a state visit which aimed at reducing trade tension between both countries. Trump is unhappy with Japan's large trade surplus and is considering putting high tariffs on its auto exports if a bilateral trade agreement is not reached.

Strains have increased between Iran and the United States, which is a firm backer of Tehran's regional rival Saudi Arabia, after this month's attack on oil tankers in the Gulf region that Washington has blamed on Iran.

Tehran has distanced itself from the bombings, but the United States has sent an aircraft carrier and an extra 1,500 troops to the Gulf, sparking concerns about the risks of conflict in a volatile region.

Washington has been seeking to tighten sanctions against Iran, as relations worsen under President Donald Trump, who last year pulled out of a nuclear agreement his predecessor Barack Obama had signed with Iran alongside other world powers in 2015.

Watch: US officials seek to tamp down Trump rhetoric on Iran