(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump requested a meeting with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month, Iran's foreign ministry asserted on Sunday.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, confirmed the report later in the day. "This willingness was expressed by the American side, but was rejected by the Islamic Republic of Iran's president," Qassemi said.
The government released a statement after an Iranian analyst told state-run media that Trump had invited Rouhani "to a face-to-face meeting during Mr. Rouhani's visit to New York."
At the annual UN summit, Trump previewed his comprehensive strategy toward Iran that he would reveal weeks later in a speech. In his UN remarks, Trump referred to the Islamic Republic government as "murderous," "rogue," undemocratic and the main cause of problems plaguing the Middle East.
It was only after this speech that Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, contacted a deputy of Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif and made the request, according to one of Iran's widest circulating daily newspapers.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani fires back at US President Donald Trump on Iran nuclear deal, October 7, 2017. (Reuters)
Bilateral relations between Tehran and Washington were frozen for thirty years after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, until Barack Obama opened a direct channel of communication with his Iranian counterpart.
The Trump administration has yet to comment on the Iranian claims.