President Donald Trump is ready to meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani without preconditions while maintaining “maximum pressure” on Tehran, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday amid the ongoing tensions with Iran. This came days after Iran said it had fired up centrifuges to boost its enriched uranium stockpiles.
“Now the president has made clear, he is happy to take a meeting with no preconditions, but we are maintaining the maximum pressure campaign,” Mnuchin said.
Earlier, Trump had said that he was ready to meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani if the circumstances were "correct."
"If the circumstances were correct, I would certainly agree to that," he said at the G7 summit in France, where President Emmanuel Macron attempted to defuse the tensions between Tehran and Washington by hosting Iran's foreign minister for talks.
Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation said it had activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 advanced centrifuges. “The centrifuge machines, as they are engaged in research and development, will help with increasing the stockpile,” spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said.
“The capacity of these machines is many times more than the previous machines. This started as of yesterday (Friday),” he told a news conference in Tehran.
Under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran was allowed to enrich uranium using only first generation—or IR-1 -- centrifuges.
Last year, US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of an international accord designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program and has reimposed sanctions on Iran in an effort to force it to renegotiate the agreement.
Tensions soared in the Gulf in June and July amid attacks on oil tankers, Iran’s downing of an unmanned US surveillance drone and after the US said it had downed an Iranian drone. Trump has said the attack against the US drone prompted him to order a military strike in response, only to call it off at the last minute.