U.S.-Iran meeting will take place through P5+1
Multiple senior administration officials for the U.S. made the remarks on Tuesday during a press gaggle at the U.N. headquarters. When asked if a meeting would take place between President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the officials said the opportunity didn't present itself on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting.
"What we had indicated was the same thing we've been saying to you guys for the last few days and the president said for the last few years, which is we're open to having discussion with the Iranians at any level," one official said. "We did not have any plan for a formal bilateral meeting here. We indicated that the two leaders could have had a discussion on the margins if the opportunity presented itself. The Iranians got back to us; it was clear that it was too complicated for them to do that at this time given their own dynamic back home."
The officials said the upcoming meeting represented a real opening for a diplomatic process.
"And that's going to be carried forward by Secretary Kerry meeting with his counterpart, which is a significant elevation of the level that that exchange has taken place through that P5+1 process," one official said.
One of the officials said it was important to note that the U.S. would never have a negotiation at this point at the presidential level on the matter of a nuclear agreement. The official said the U.S. would continue to pursue the diplomatic opening presented by the P5+1 meeting.