U.S. President Donald Trump has said he is prepared to talk to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani but that there is always a chance of U.S. military action against the Islamic Republic.
"So Iran is a place that was extremely hostile when I first came into office," Trump told British television station ITV. "They were a terrorist nation number one in the world at that time and probably maybe are today."
In late April Washington decided to completely chock off Iran’s oil exports by denying exemptions to a handful of countries to buy Iranian oil despite U.S. sanctions.
This was followed by deployment of more U.S. forces to the region as indications of Iranian threats rose. But as tensions reached a high point, Trump began sounding more conciliatory, repeatedly voicing readiness to talk with Iran without preconditions.
When asked if he thought he would need to take military action, he said: "There's always a chance. Do I want to? No. I'd rather not. But there's always a chance."
He said, when asked, that he was prepared to talk to Rouhani: "Yeah of course. I would much rather talk."
Several countries have offered mediation and Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe will visit Tehran in June to try to reduce tensions.
Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi expressed hope on June 4 that his visit can be helpful. Earlier, Iranian officials had said they do not need mediators and the for a dialogue to start the U.S. must first stop its policy of pressuring Iran, meaning its tough economic sanctions.