News / USA

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.
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.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs