Iran declines US offer to meet at UN this week: Report

In what could prove to be a major setback for US President Barack Obama`s efforts to engage his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, senior US officials on Tuesday said both the leaders will not meet at the United Nations this week.

Updated: Sep 25, 2013, 00:53 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New York: In what could prove to be a major setback for US President Barack Obama`s efforts to engage his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, senior US officials on Tuesday said both the leaders will not meet at the United Nations this week.

According to reports, Iran has declined the US` offer to sit across a negotiating table. The US officials said a meeting proved to be too complicated for the Iranians. But they say work is under way at the staff level to resolve an impasse over Iran`s nuclear program.

US and Iranian leaders have not met in 36 years.

Iran`s new government under relative moderate President Hassan Rouhani had taken an emollient approach timed for the annual UN General Assembly, agreeing to resume international nuclear negotiations that would include its foreign minister seeing US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Earlier in the day, Obama said he wanted to put Rouhani`s overtures to the test and challenged him to take concrete steps toward resolving Iran`s long-running nuclear dispute with the West.