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President Trump said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that he is willing to speak with the leaders of Iran under "no pre-conditions," and that all he is seeking out of a deal with Iran is a ban on the country obtaining nuclear weapons.

CHUCK TODD: "Is it one-on-one talks, you and the Ayatollah, or you and the President?
TRUMP: "It doesn't matter to me. Here's what I want, anything that gets you to the result. They cannot have a nuclear weapon. It's not about the straits. You know, a lot of people covered it incorrectly. They're never mentioned. They cannot have a nuclear weapon. They'd use it. And they're not going to have a nuclear weapon."

Why it matters: The 2015 Iran nuclear deal that President Trump pulled the U.S. out of was designed to do exactly that. Up until now, the UN's atomic watchdog and even Trump's own intelligence chiefs have assessed that Iran has been in compliance with the terms of the deal, a claim that Trump denies.

  • Last week, as a result of the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign, Iran said it would break uranium stockpile limits set under the 2015 deal within the next 10 days.
  • Trump told NBC's Chuck Todd that the deal that President Obama struck was defective because certain restrictions on Iran's nuclear program would be lifted after 10 and 15 years, that it didn't cover ballistic missiles, and that certain sites couldn't be inspected.

The big picture: Asked about the pending military strike against Iran that he called off, Trump reiterated that he believed the death toll would have been "disproportionate." He added: "I'm not looking for war and if there is, it'll be obliteration like you've never seen before. But I'm not looking to do that."

  • Responding to criticism that he pledged to get the U.S. out of the Middle East as a candidate, Trump said that he is committed to protecting Israel and Saudi Arabia. "Look, Saudi Arabia is buying $400 billion worth of things for us. That's a very good thing."

Trump again brought up Saudi Arabia's purchase of U.S. arms — which in reality is not anywhere near $400 billion — when pressed on whether he spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the recent UN report on Jamal Khashoggi.

  • Trump said that he would override Congress' recent efforts to halt U.S. weapons sales to the kingdom, claiming the purchases amount to "a million jobs and probably more."

Go deeper: How Trump and Tehran came to the brink of war

Go deeper

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

2 hours ago - World

Australian PM pledges $700M for climate change-threatened Great Barrier reef

A green sea turtle is flourishing among the corals at Lady Elliot island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday a AU$1 billion ($703 million) investment plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The nine-year plan for projects including water quality improvement, reef conservation and supporting some 64,000 tourism jobs comes months ahead of this year's federal election. It has been criticized by scientists and environmental groups for failing to tackle climate change.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.