In flight to Johannesburg, a White House spokesman told reporters that “we’re not anticipating” a meeting between President Barack Obama and Iran President Hassan Rouhani, who is also attending the funeral of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani smiles as he leaves after a parliament session in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. Iran's conservative-dominated parliament rejected reformist ally of Rouhani for a ministerial post. In a vote on Sunday, 107 out of 253 lawmakers voted against Nasrollah Sajjadi who Rouhani nominated as the sports and youth minister. AP
The United States and Iran reached an agreement in which Iran would discontinue developing it’s nuclear program in exchange for temporarily dropping economic sanctions against the country, over a six month period.
Briefing reporters on Air Force was, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes took a question about Rouhani attending the funeral.
“Is there any possibility the president might meet with the Iranian President while there? Apparently, they were trying to work out Rouhani’s visit.”
Rhodes did not definitively assert there wouldn’t be a meeting.
“I wouldn’t expect any -- first of all, any bilateral meetings,” Rhodes said. “I’m not even so sure who’s going for the Iranians. But we’re not anticipating any meeting.”
Last week the White House national security spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told TheBlaze, “There is no truth to the report,” that Obama planned to meet with Rouhani in Iran.
The report was from Kuwaiti news outlet Al-Jarida, saying it “learned from a U.S. diplomat that President Barack Obama is seeking to visit Tehran in the middle of next year.” The report continued, “He wants to be the first U.S. president to visit Iran since the Khomeini revolution in order to show that he is an advocate of peace and dialogue even with those who chant death to America.”
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were accompanied on board Air Force One by former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.