Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, made the remarks on Monday during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One. When asked about a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Rhodes said there is no scheduled meeting but the U.S. does not rule out that type of engagement.
“As you heard us say repeatedly, we are open to engagement with the Iranian government at a variety of levels provided that they will follow through on their commitments to address the international community’s concerns over their nuclear program,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes said the U.S. welcomes Iran engaging seriously through the process of the P5+1. He said the P5+1 represents the international community’s commitment to holding Iran accountable while being open to a diplomatic resolution.
When asked how intertwined the situations were in Iran and Syria, Rhodes made it clear that the matters of Iran and Syria are two different issues.
“The issue of Iran’s nuclear program is a distinct issue that we’ve been dealing with since the President came into office and the international community has been dealing with for well over a decade,” Rhodes said. “And this is an issue that is not just a bilateral one between the United States and Iran; it’s an issue between Iran and the international community in the fact that Iran has consistently failed to meet its obligations with respect to its nuclear program.”