Rand Paul Reportedly Met with Iran’s Foreign Minister in New York
July 20, 2019 (EIRNS)—Before he left the White House, yesterday, President Donald Trump reversed what he said the day before about Rand Paul and Iran. “Rand is a friend of mine. And Rand asked me if he could be involved. The answer is yes,” he said, and “We’ll see what happens.” On July 18, Trump had denied a Politico story reporting that on July 13, while they were golfing together, Paul had proposed that he meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who arrived in New York that day for meetings at the United Nations, and that Trump had approved Paul’s suggestion. Paul, of course, has been an outspoken opponent of all the regime change wars, so Trump’s choice of him, rather than one of his neocon Cabinet members, to make contact with Iran carries a meaning.
Al-Monitor, citing a “non-government expert in contact with the Iranian team” as its source, had reported yesterday that Rand Paul met with Zarif in New York on Thursday, July 18, though neither the Trump Administration nor the Iranian mission to the UN would confirm it.
Paul, himself, has not confirmed if there was such a meeting, but he addressed the question of diplomacy during an interview on Fox News. “I think there is a possible opening that Iran would sign an agreement saying that they won’t develop a nuclear weapon, ever,” he said. “That would be a huge breakthrough.”
“I think President Trump is one of the few people who actually could get that deal,” Paul said. “And he will get it because he’s strong, and he is showing maximum pressure, but he is also willing to talk.”
Paul said he thought it would be useful to open discussions with Iran about what kind of changes in behavior the United States would like to see for the removal of sanctions. “I think diplomacy is a good idea, and I think that if sanctions are to work, you also have to talk about removing them,” Paul said. “So I think the discussion now, since we have maximum pressure on and maximum sanctions on Iran, now we have to say what would we be willing to remove them for.”