Officials: No Meeting for Obama and Iranian President

Administration officials suggest Iran got cold feet, despite days of talks

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Eyepress / SIPA USA

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at his first press conference since taking office, at the presidency compound in Tehran, on Aug. 6, 2013

Despite more than a week of speculation and Administration hints, President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will not be meeting at the U.N. General Assembly today, according to senior Administration officials.

The officials said the White House offered to have “an encounter” with Rouhani on the margins of this week’s events in New York City, but the Iranian government informed them today that it is “too complicated for Iranians to do at this point.”

The officials added that they had discussed a meeting with their Iranian counterparts for days. “We have said publicly, and we also said privately to the Iranians, that we’re open to having discussions on the margins of UNGA — informal discussions, not a bilateral meeting. That proved to be too complicated for the Iranians to do at this point,” a senior Administration official said.

“The Iranians have an internal dynamic that they have to manage, and the relationship with the United States is clearly quite different than the relationship that Iran has with other Western nations,” the official said.

Earlier Tuesday in Obama’s remarks to the General Assembly, the President called Rouhani’s election this summer “encouraging,” saying he has directed Secretary of State John Kerry to pursue a diplomatic solution to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.