The United States is not seeking regime change in Iran, President Donald Trump said Monday, as tensions between the two countries rise with Washington deploying troops to the region.
“I know so many people from Iran, these are great people, it has a chance to be a great country, with the same leadership,” Trump said at a press conference in Tokyo where he is on a state visit.
“We’re not looking for regime change, I just want to make that clear. We’re looking for no nuclear weapons.”
“I’m not looking to hurt Iran at all,” added Trump.
This comes as the United States on Friday said it was deploying 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East to counter “credible threats” from Tehran, the latest step in a series of military escalations.
Tensions have been rising between Washington and Tehran since Trump’s decision last year to withdraw from an international nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions on the oil producer.
The US president reiterated Monday his criticism of that “horrible Iran deal” but said he was open to new negotiations.
“I think we’ll make a deal,” he said at the press conference alongside Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Hours earlier, Trump had insisted: “I do believe that Iran would like to talk, and if they’d like to talk, we’d like to talk also.”