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Obama Won’t Meet With Rohani While at UN, U.S. Official Says

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks with attendees during a luncheon for delegates and heads of state at the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2013 in New York City. Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

President Barack Obama and Iranian leader Hassan Rohani won’t meet while in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, according to White House officials.

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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