Close but no cigar
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) extended an invitation to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to meet with President Trump in the Oval Office last month, The New Yorker reports.
Trump reportedly granted Paul the leeway to make the offer, but Zarif, who was reportedly concerned the meeting would be little more than a photo opportunity, was unable to attend after running it by his superiors in Tehran, who apparently agreed with his reservations.
American and Iranian forces said that during an hour-long meeting with Paul, Zarif outlined some ideas about how to end the tensions between Tehran and Washington that have been growing since the U.S. withdrew from the 2015 nuclear pact last year. Among the ideas brought forth was the prospect of codifying into law a fatwa, or religious edict, forbidding the production or use of a nuclear weapon that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued twice in the past, once in 2003 and again in 2010.
Zarif also reportedly suggested that Iran would stick to the 2015 agreement's guidelines in exchange for the removal of U.S. sanctions. If that was the case, he reportedly told Paul that Tehran could expedite the ratification of an international protocol later this year that would allow intrusive international inspections of nuclear sites in perpetuity.
But Paul was ultimately rebuffed when he pitched the idea of Zarif running these options by Trump in person. Read more at The New Yorker.