Trump Allows Rand Paul to Become Iran Liaison: Report
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – US President Donald Trump signed off this weekend on a proposal from Sen. Rand Paul for him to serve as a liaison to Iran to try to reduce tensions between Washington and Tehran.
Paul proposed sitting down with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a golf outing with Trump this past weekend, four US officials told Politico.
The meeting’s goal would be to discuss with Zarif on the president’s behalf the potential to calm an escalating situation between the US and Iran.
It is unclear if a meeting between Paul and Zarif is actually set. A US official said only that "We’re aware of reports of a supposed meeting between a US Senator and Zarif."
But the prospect of Paul, a staunch anti-war Republican, meeting with him reportedly rankled some administration officials who think his dovish strategy could impede the White House’s “maximum pressure” campaign.
Trump allowing Paul to move forward with trying to meet Zarif stands in contrast to his hard-line stance on Iran.
Zarif is in the US this week for United Nations meetings and other events.
“The United States is engaged in economic war against Iran,” Zarif told reporters, shortly before he addressed a UN meeting on global goals to tackle issues including conflict, hunger, equality and climate change by 2030. “It targets ordinary civilians, it amounts to terrorism.”
When asked what steps need to be taken to de-escalate tensions between Washington and Tehran, Zarif said, “That has to stop. Once it stops, then other things can follow.”
Zarif said that he has had “no contact with anybody in the American government” while in New York.