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US Official: Obama-Rouhani Meeting 'Too Complicated' for Iran

President Obama walks from the Oval Office of the White House before traveling to the UN General Assembly. Sept. 23, 2013.President Obama walks from the Oval Office of the White House before traveling to the UN General Assembly. Sept. 23, 2013.
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President Obama walks from the Oval Office of the White House before traveling to the UN General Assembly. Sept. 23, 2013.
President Obama walks from the Oval Office of the White House before traveling to the UN General Assembly. Sept. 23, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani did not meet on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly despite conciliatory signals sent by President Rouhani that had increased hopes that he and Obama might find a moment to shake hands in New York.
 
A senior administration official said there was never any plan for a formal bilateral meeting, but the official also said the U.S. did indicate to the Iranian side that a discussion was possible on the margins of the General Assembly "if the opportunity presented itself."
 
The official said the Iranian response indicated that "it was too complicated for them to do that at this time, given their own dynamic back home."
 
Not surprisingly, in their speeches to the General Assembly, neither President Rouhani nor President Obama mentioned anything about this delicate behind-the-scenes back and forth.
 
Rouhani repeated his call for "constructive engagement," and said that nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran's security and defense doctrine.
 
"Our national interests make it imperative that we remove any and all reasonable concerns about Iran's peaceful nuclear program,” said Rouhani.
 
At the same time, Rouhani said Iran hopes that interactions on Iran's nuclear program refrain from what he called the "short-sighted interests of warmongering." He mentioned in particular the U.S. position that the military option remains on the table if diplomacy fails.
 
In his address to the assembly, President Obama stressed the importance of Iran turning words into actions that are "transparent and verifiable."
 
"While the status quo will only deepen Iran’s isolation, Iran’s genuine commitment to go down a different path will be good for the region and the world," said Obama.
 
The senior U.S. administration official said the real work with Iran will take place in "substantive negotiations," and repeated that Iran's conciliatory signals are due to pressure that sanctions have imposed on its economy.
 
What is important here is the process, the official said, noting that Iran and the P5+1 group of nations will hold talks in New York, although there is no expectation of any agreement to arise from those talks.
 
The official was asked about President Rouhani's criticism of President Obama's pledge not to remove military options from the table.
 
The U.S. remains determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, the official said, but has a preference for diplomacy, adding that the U.S. is not going to change its policy "simply because there is a new leader in Iran."
 
President Obama was not disappointed with the lack of face-to-face contact with President Rouhani, the senior administration official said, who added that Obama had always said he was willing to meet Iran's leadership and tha tit remains important to continue sending the signal that the U.S. is open to negotiations on the Iran nuclear issue.

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by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 25, 2013 6:36 AM
I listened to Hassan Rouhani's address at the UN, and contrary to the hype about the moderate cleric truly being moderate at the UN, showed little deviation from his predecessor's nagging approach. Well, he made a short statement, but it was the same old story of trading blames and renouncing the West without calling it by name. He did also not mention Israel by name, but he did refer to "inhuman treatment of Palestinians". In other words he still sees Israel in the light of Iranian denial of the holocaust, and as an occupying force - "a sore thumb that must be cut off", according to Ahmadinejad.

This does not speak well of him even if he did not out rightly deny the holocaust like Ahmadinejad his predecessor. But one important fact that must straightened out is that Israel is not an occupying force as its enemies in the region seek to paint it. When 3000 years ago the Persian (now Iranian) ruler helped return Israel to their land to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, did he make that move for Israel to go rebuild a foreign temple, in a foreign land, or did Israel's bona fide capital then turn out to be another country's capital somehow? When did Israel give up its capital and how did it become Palestinian land? These are nagging questions and until an answer is provided to clear this doubt, peace will continue to elude the region, whether or not Iran develops a nuclear weapons program.

Rouhani and the need to mend fences with Iran has become a new obsession in USA, proves perhaps that USA needs Iran more than Iran needs her. And why not if the president of the US is a double-speak person, someone whose words are not to be believed, someone who trips over his red line, and above all, someone who denies his own statement in other to wriggle out of created situation that had Russia decided to stand aloof, would have allowed the roof collapse over his head. This calamity resulted from somebody's ineptitude.

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