Donald Trump said on Monday he was ready to meet with Iran’s leadership "whenever they want" without any preconditions as he hailed the benefits of diplomacy.
It comes just a week after the US president warned Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian President, that threats against America would be met with "consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before".
Tensions between the two countries have markedly increased since Mr Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear agreement in May, despite protests from a number of European allies.
Mr Trump said he was willing to sit down with the Iranian leadership to achieve a "meaningful" new deal "not the waste of paper that the other deal was".
"I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet," he said. "I do believe that they will probably end up wanting to meet. I’m ready to meet whenever they want to."
Mr Trump hailed the success of his June meeting with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, boasting "you haven’t had a missile fired off in nine months".
He also praised his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month as "a great meeting in terms of the future".
"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," Mr Trump said.
"We met, as you know, with Chairman Kim and you haven’t had a missile fired off in nine months, we got our prisoners back, so many things have happened so positive."
While Mr Trump said there would be no "preconditions" to meeting with Iran, he did hedge the possibility of a meeting on an ability to "work something out that’s meaningful" with Iran.
However critics will be sceptical of the likelihood of a meeting in the near future, with Mr Trump also referring to the country’s leadership as a "brutal regime" and restating his position that "Iran must never be allowed to posses a nuclear weapon".
"We encourage all nations to pressure Iran to end the full range of its maligned activities," he said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNBC on Monday that he was onboard with the president’s invitation, but he appeared to add several qualifications.
"If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes in how they treat their own people, reduce their malign behaviour, can agree that it’s worthwhile to enter in a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation, then the president said he’s prepared to sit down and have a conversation with him," he said.
Reaction among Mr Trump’s critics in both parties on Capitol Hill was mixed, with Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein telling reporters: "I actually think that’s a good idea."
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Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker characterised the overture as "fine," but only "as long as they are willing to talk about being a normal country in the future."
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez was more sceptical, calling it "another recipe for bad outcomes."
"It’s the same as North Korea," he said. "No preconditions, no preparation. And what do we have? We have Kim Jong-un was elevated from an international pariah to someone who seems like a legitimate statesman."
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The US president made the remarks during a press conference with the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the White House.
Mr Trump praised the Italian leader for his hard-line approach to immigration and called on other European heads of state to do the same.
Mr Conte has sought to position himself as a conduit between America and Europe, with Britain, Germany and France publicly disagreeing with Mr Trump on a number of issues – including Iran.
In a warm exchange on Friday, Mr Conte referred to the US president as "Donald" several times while Mr Trump boasted the two leaders were “both outsiders to politics”.
Mr Conte took office last monthpromising to bring radical change to Italy, including more generous welfare provision and a crackdown on immigration.
The new Italian government is looking to limit the number of migrants it lets into the country and has shut its ports to humanitarian rescue ships, saying it is bearing an unfair burden within the European Union for dealing with asylum seekers.
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Mr Trump said: "Like the United States, Italy is currently under enormous strain as a result of illegal immigration, and they’ve fought it hard and the Prime Minister frankly is with us today because of illegal immigration. Italy got tired of it, they didn’t want it any longer.
"I applaud the Prime Minister for his bold leadership – truly bold, and I hope more leaders will follow this example, including leaders in Europe."
"I agree very much with what you are doing with respect to migration, and illegal immigration, and even legal immigration," Mr Trump told the Italian premier.
"He has taken a very firm stance on the border, a stance that few countries have taken".
Ahead of his visit there was speculation that Mr Conte, whose populist government is pushing for new ties with Russia, would call on Mr Trump to lift economic sanctions on the Kremlin.
The president said "sanctions on Russia will remain as is" – but the phrasing suggests he will stop short of slapping additional sanctions on Moscow, as many within how own party would like.