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Trump Tells Iran Negotiating After US Elections Means Paying 'A Much Higher Price'

US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the BOK Center on June 20, 2020 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

President Donald Trump told the Islamic Republic during his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma June 20 that if they wait to make a deal with the United States after he gets reelected, they will “pay a much higher price”.

Trump who was speaking about his ability to make important deals with other countries, criticized his predecessor for giving Iran “$150 billion for nothing”.

He was referring to the 2015 nuclear deal when the U.S. and Western countries agreed to lift many sanctions they had imposed on Iran for its pursuit of an ambitious nuclear program. Although the $150 billion amount has been often mentioned in the past, it is not clear if the nuclear deal brought such a big cash reward for Iran.

Trump also criticized the Obama administration for sending cash money to Iran in 2016 in what appeared to be payment for the release of four hostages. “And almost more incredible, he gave [them] 1.8 billion in green cash. Beautiful cash”, Trump retorted.

Although Trump did not directly mention his policy of “maximum pressure” against the Islamic Republic to force concessions, he seemed to be taking credit for the economic crisis gripping Iran. “And now they’re not doing so well, are they? They are not doing so well. Someday, we’re going to get credit for this, someday, but they are waiting.”

The president claimed Iran "badly" wants to make a deal but is advised by “Kerry” and others to wait until the U.S. elections when Trump might lose. He was referring to former Secretary of State John Kerry, who some have accused of maintaining contact with Iranian officials. Kerry has denied the allegations.

The president at this point made a reference to the Logan Act, a 1799 law that criminalizes negotiation by unauthorized American citizens with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States.

Trump alleged that Kerry and others tell Iran, “Wait, because if Trump loses, you’ll own America, you’re going to own it”. The president then repeated a message to Iran that the U.S. “can wait, but when I win, you’re going to pay a much higher price than if you made a deal…” now.