US “does not seek regime change” in Iran – Trump

US Senate
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (right) and Senator Roy Blunt (left) are listening while US President Donald Trump speaks to Capitol Hill reporters on March 26, 2019 AP / Archive

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — US President Donald Trump said Monday that the United States was “not seeking regime change” in Iran, while tensions between the two countries escalated as Washington deployed additional troops to the Middle East.

“I know many people from Iran, they are great people, Iran has the opportunity to be a wonderful country with the same leadership,” Trump said in Tokyo, where he is on a state visit.

“We are not seeking to change the regime, I just want to make it clear, we are trying to eliminate nuclear weapons.” “I’m not trying to hurt Iran at all.”

On Monday, the US president reiterated his criticism of the “terrible Iranian deal” but said he was open to new negotiations. “I think we will conclude an agreement” with Tehran, he said during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

A few hours ago, Trump said, “I really think that Iran has a desire for dialogue, and if they want dialogue we are also willing.”

On the other hand, the US president described North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a “very smart” man who understands the necessity for him to give up nuclear weapons. “He knows that he alone can get bad things, he’s a very smart man, he knows that very well,” he said, adding that North Korea had “enormous economic potential.”

He again rejected missile launches by Pyongyang earlier this month, and National Security Adviser John Bolton considered it a violation of UN resolutions.

Trump said US administration officials “believe that (the missiles) could have been a violation … I see that a man might want to attract attention.”

Abe reiterated his desire to meet with Kim personally, especially to raise the issue of Japanese nationals kidnapped by Pyongyang, and said Trump supports his efforts for direct talks.

In addition to North Korea, Trump and Abe focused on trade as Washington and Tokyo began negotiations to reduce what the US president called an “unbelievably large trade imbalance.”

Trump pointed out that a final deal would be reached only after the Japanese Senate elections in July, but he said he expected to reach an “all-economy” agreement.

He also confirmed that Japan had announced its intention to purchase 105 new F-35 fighter jets, adding that the deal would “give Japan the largest F-35 fleet of any US ally.”

Trump noted that there were “very good opportunities” to reach a trade deal with China, despite recent reciprocal reprisals between the world’s two largest economic powers.

“I think that during some time in the future, China and the United States will conclude a remarkable trade agreement and we look forward to it,” he said.

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