PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you. I’m honored to welcome my new friend — we got along very well right from the beginning — Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to the White House.
Mr. Prime Minister, I want to begin by congratulating you once again on your tremendous victory in Italy. It was something that all the world was watching, and it excited the people all across Italy and, I can tell you, all across the United States, as well. Congratulations.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: The Prime Minister and I also agree that the brutal regime in Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon. Never. We encourage all nations to pressure Iran to end the full range of its malign activities. The United States welcomes the partnership of Italy in these vital efforts.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. You spoke a bit about Iran today and your discussions, and I’m wondering if you could tell us what you think Iran needs to do to reduce some of the tensions.
And you’ve met with the leaders of North Korea and Russia. Are you prepared also — are you willing to meet with President Rouhani? And under what conditions? And have there been any preliminary discussions about something like that?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’ll meet with anybody. I believe in meeting. The Prime Minister said it better than anybody can say it: Speaking to other people, especially when you’re talking about potentials of war and death and famine and lots of other things — you meet. There’s nothing wrong with meeting. We met, as you know, with Chairman Kim. And it — you haven’t had a missile fired off in nine months. We got our prisoners back. So many things have happened. So positive.
But meeting with people — I had a great meeting, in my opinion. Of course, the fake news didn’t cover it that way. But I had a great meeting with President Putin of Russia. I think it was a great meeting. In terms of the future, in terms of safety and economic development and protecting Israel and protecting everybody, I thought it was a great meeting.
Great meeting with NATO. I just explained NATO. I just explained NATO. Hundreds of billions of dollars more money will be paid into NATO, the coffers of NATO. And much already has.
So I believe in meeting. I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet. I don’t know that they’re ready yet. They’re having a hard time right now.
But I ended the Iran deal; it was a ridiculous deal. I do believe that they will probably end up wanting to meet, and I’m ready to meet any time they want to. And I don’t do that from strength or from weakness. I think it’s an appropriate thing to do. If we could work something out that’s meaningful, not the waste of paper that the other deal was, I would certainly be willing to meet.
Q Do you have preconditions for that meeting?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No preconditions. No. If they want to meet, I’ll meet. Anytime they want. Anytime they want. It’s good for the country, good for them, good for us, and good for the world. No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet.