While the U.S. was open to an informal exchange, such as a handshake, the Iranians decided against such a display, citing domestic political concerns, said the officals, who asked for anonymity to describe the private discussions.
Both Obama and Rohani had indicated an interest in closing a three decade rift between the two countries, through statements over the past week.
In a UN address this morning, Obama embraced what he described as Iran’s “more moderate course,” though he cautioned that he wanted a substantive agreement to rein in that country’s nuclear program.
“The roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested,” he told dozens of world leaders gathered for the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly.
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