Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani told reporters on Wednesday that he turned down five requests from U.S. President Barack Obama to meet at the United Nations, according to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.
“Before my trip (to New York), the Americans had sent 5 messages to arrange a meeting between me and Obama, but I turned them down.”
“Then they raised a plan for a brief meeting, but I didn’t agree (with it) much; we didn’t disagree with (the idea to have) a meeting, but its grounds weren’t prepared.”
The Iranian leader also said that he had achieved his mission at the UN “to prevent a new war in the region,” and he mocked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his strident speech earlier in the week, saying that Israel is merely frustrated that its own power has declined as Iran’s power has grown.
The White House had stoked media anticipation last week by indicating the possibility of a meeting between President Obama and President Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN before Rouhani turned down the suggestion. That was the only known snub before Rouhani claimed to have denied Obama an additional five times. The two leaders spoke by telephone instead–the first such contact between the two nations in three decades.