President Donald Trump’s offer Monday to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani caught senior administration officials as well as U.S. allies off guard. Many wondered what Trump could possibly be thinking.
Trump’s offer needs to be seen in the context of events in Iran. Iran is in the throes ofrapidly growing, country-wide protests which may be the largest it has seen since the 1979 revolution. And worse is yet to come.
Beginning next week, U.S. will begin reimposing sanctions suspended by the Obama administration. Iran’s economy, already in a tailspin, stands a good chance of collapsing.
Trump made his offer in the context of an overall U.S. policy towards the Iranian regime. That policy was set out explicitly by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a speech in Mayand in another last month.
In May, Pompeo told an audience at the Heritage Institute that the U.S. sanctions against Iran would remain in place until the regime abided by twelve U.S. demands. The major demands require Iran to end all of its nuclear activities and come clean about its past nuclear operations; end its sponsorship of terrorism regionally and worldwide; respect the human and civil rights of the Iranian people; and end the aggression it is carrying out against its neighbors both directly and through its terror proxies.