Trump to meet with Swiss president amid tensions between US, Iran

Trump to meet with Swiss president amid tensions between US, Iran
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE will meet Thursday at the White House with the president of the Swiss Confederation, which often serves as a go-between for the U.S. and Iran, as Washington seeks a way forward amid tensions with Tehran.

Trump and Swiss President Ueli Maurer will "discuss the partnership between the United States and Switzerland, including matters such as Switzerland’s role in facilitating diplomatic relations and other international issues," the White House said.

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Iran is likely to be on the agenda, as the U.S. has no formal diplomatic channels in the country. Switzerland serves as a protecting power for the U.S. in Iran, meaning it represents American interests in the country.

White House press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersBiden pledges return to daily press briefings as president Sarah Sanders: I will walk out of the White House 'with my head held high' Trump directs Pentagon to develop policy allowing service academy athletes to go pro right away MORE Sanders told reporters Thursday morning that the message she'd like the Swiss leader to convey to the Iranians is the same one Trump has been hammering for months.

“We’d like to see some behavioral change come from them," Sanders said. "We’re going to continue the maximum pressure, and that, as the president has said, if they take action they’re not going to like what he does in response. They’re not going to be happy."

Trump has indicated a desire to speak with Iranian leadership, even as his administration appears to be gearing up for a conflict.

As he dismissed reports of clashes within the White House over how to proceed on Iran, Trump tweeted Wednesday that he's "sure that Iran will want to talk soon."

The president has previously suggested that he's open to negotiating with Iranian leadership after he pulled the U.S. out of the Obama-era nuclear deal a year ago. But Tehran has not shown a mutual interest in holding talks, prompting concerns from international allies that the two sides might enter a war because of a misunderstanding.

Tensions between the U.S and Iran have noticeably flared in recent weeks, raising questions about whether a military conflict is on the horizon.

Earlier this month, national security adviser John BoltonJohn Robert BoltonTrump confirms he authorized Rand Paul to negotiate with Iran Trump: 'No doubt' US shot down Iranian drone The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants MORE announced the deployment of a U.S. carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East. Officials cited a "credible threat" from Iran to explain the decision, but have not elaborated on the threat.

The president has said he's hopeful there won't be a war with Iran, but cautioned Tehran against provoking the U.S.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that his country would not go to war with the United States, despite the mounting tensions.