Trump says there ‘might be an es­ca­la­tion’ be­tween U.S., Iran

Santa Fe New Mexican - - NATION & WORLD - By Matthew Lee

BRUS­SELS — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Thurs­day fore­cast an un­spec­i­fied “es­ca­la­tion” be­tween the United States and Iran fol­low­ing his with­drawal from a land­mark deal that pro­vided sanc­tions re­lief for Tehran in ex­change for curbs on its nu­clear pro­gram.

Trump’s re­marks came as his ad­min­is­tra­tion pressed Euro­pean na­tions at a NATO sum­mit to cut off all fund­ing that Iran may use to fo­ment in­sta­bil­ity in the Mid­dle East and be­yond.

Trump as­serted Iran is treat­ing the U.S. with more re­spect, al­though there’s no ev­i­dence to sup­port that, and pre­dicted Tehran will seek ne­go­ti­a­tions as reim­posed sanc­tions bite.

“I would say there might be an es­ca­la­tion be­tween us and the Ira­ni­ans,” Trump said at a news con­fer­ence in Brus­sels.

“They’re treat­ing us with much more re­spect right now than they did in the past and I know they’re hav­ing a lot of prob­lems and their econ­omy is col­laps­ing. But I will tell you this, at a cer­tain point, they’re go­ing to call me and they’re go­ing to say ‘Let’s make a deal,’ and we’ll make a deal.’ But they’re feel­ing a lot of pain right now,” he said.

Over the op­po­si­tion of Euro­pean al­lies, the pres­i­dent in May pulled out from the 2015 nu­clear deal in­volv­ing Iran, the U.S. and other world pow­ers. Wash­ing­ton’s re­in­stat­ing of eco­nomic penal­ties has wors­ened Iran’s al­ready-hob­bled econ­omy.

Af­ter the NATO sum­mit ended Thurs­day, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo met with Euro­pean of­fi­cials to make the case for clamp­ing down on Ira­nian “ter­ror­ism and proxy wars.”

“We must cut off all fund­ing the regime uses to fund ter­ror­ism and proxy wars. There’s no telling when Iran may try to fo­ment ter­ror­ism, vi­o­lence & in­sta­bil­ity in one of our coun­tries next.” The tweet was ac­com­pa­nied by a map ac­cus­ing Iran of spon­sor­ing at least 11 ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Europe since 1978.

In an­other post, Pom­peo said “Iran con­tin­ues to send weapons across the Mid­dle East, in bla­tant vi­o­la­tion of U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions. Iran’s regime wants to start trou­ble wher­ever it can. It’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity to stop it.”

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