Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held a historic telephone call with his US counterpart only a few weeks after assuming power in August 2013
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held a historic telephone call with his US counterpart only a few weeks after assuming power in August 2013 © Atta Kenare - AFP/File
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held a historic telephone call with his US counterpart only a few weeks after assuming power in August 2013
AFP
Last updated: September 17, 2014

Iran's Rouhani to attend UN assembly

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will address the UN General Assembly in New York next week but is not scheduled to meet Barack Obama, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.

Rouhani's first major foreign visit as president was to last year's General Assembly, where he held a historic telephone call with Obama on the sidelines, the highest level contact between the two countries since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

There had been speculation that the two might even meet face to face last year, but in the end it was just the phone call.

"No meeting with Obama is scheduled" during Rouhani's visit to New York, the official IRNA news agency quoted spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht as saying.

Iranian media say Rouhani is to leave Tehran on September 22, and the UN said he will give a speech at the Assembly on September 25 and a press conference the next day.

The White House said on Monday that no meeting between Obama and Rouhani was planned.

Fresh talks about Iran's contested nuclear programme are set to begin on Thursday, and Rouhani will meet his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Iran's negotiating team during his visit.

Zarif was due to have a working dinner with outgoing EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton -- the lead negotiator for the major powers -- on Wednesday before the nuclear negotiations resume.

Iran and the six powers reached an interim deal last November under which Iran agreed to curb parts of its nuclear programme in return for limited relief from Western sanctions.

However, the two sides failed to reach agreement on a comprehensive deal to allay international concerns about Iran's ambitions by a July target date and extended their talks until November 24.

The central sticking points are how much uranium Iran will be allowed to continue to enrich in the long term and the timetable for the lifting of US and EU sanctions.

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