Iran says President Rowhani rejected Trump’s request to meet at UN last month

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 October, 2017, 9:18am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 October, 2017, 9:18am

Iranian President Hassan Rowhani rebuffed a request from US President Donald Trump to meet at the United Nations in New York in September, a day after the Trump made a speech highly critical of the Islamic republic, the state-run Fars News Agency said.

“A request indeed was made by the US side but it wasn’t accepted by President Rowhani,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi said at a press conference on Sunday, according to Fars. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ghassemi, though, denied earlier reports that French president Emmanuel Macron had been prepared to mediate a meeting between the two leaders, Fars reported.

Trump lashed out at Iran in remarks to the United Nations on September 19, saying the trappings of democracy there masked a “corrupt dictatorship.”

Iran must be forced to “end its pursuit of death and destruction,” Trump said in his first speech to the UN General Assembly. “Above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbours.”

Since then, Trump has disavowed the 2015 nuclear agreement, which he said Iran had violated multiple times, and asked Congress to consider tough new sanctions on Tehran. But he stopped short of totally unravelling the multinational accord designed to curb Iran’s nuclear programme.

Rowhani, during a meeting Sunday with Yukiya Amano, director general of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, said Tehran will continue to comply with the nuclear deal and won’t be the first to leave it, Fars reported.