President Obama will not meet with Iranian President Hassan Rowhani on the sidelines of the United Nations session after Iranian officials nixed the idea, senior Obama administration officials said Tuesday.
Despite Obama announcing in his address to the U.N. General Assembly that he was opening the door to new talks over Iran's nuclear program, U.S. officials revealed that the Iranian government was apparently uncomfortable with the prospect of Rowhani chatting personally with Obama in New York.
A senior administration official said a formal, one-on-one meeting was never on the table. But, the official said, "we indicated that the two leaders could have had a discussion on the margins if the opportunity presented itself."
The official said: "The Iranians got back to us; it was clear that it was too complicated for them to do that at this time given their own dynamic back home."..."Their own dynamic"--a euphemism for their dynamic screw-you nuclear activity, no doubt.
Update: John Hannah gets it exactly right:
Obama came to the U.N. to preemptively concede that regime change is not our policy in Iran — punctuated by his conspicuous failure to utter one word of concern for the freedom and human rights of the Iranian people.
Rouhani came to NY to lure the leader of the free world into the humiliating position of chasing after him for a meeting — only to summarily diss the offer when it was eagerly tendered. And then he gave a defiant speech to boot that surrendered not an inch to U.S. demands.
Score: Rouhani 1; Obama 0.Update: The NYT, as per usual, gets it exactly wrong. "Iran's New President Preaches Tolerance in First U.N. Appearance"--either that reporter has been smoking something wacky, or he's channeling the duplicitous (and dead) Walter Duranty. Or maybe both.