Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says he has never asked for talks with his American counterpart, Donald Trump, stressing that such a meeting would not be “appropriate.”
Rouhani made the remarks in an interview with CNN on Tuesday during his stay in New York for the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The Iranian president was reacting to Trump’s tweet on Tuesday, in which he tried to suggest that he had turned down requests to meet the Iranian president, but that he may agree to talks “someday in the future.”
However, Rouhani strongly dismissed Trump’s claim, saying that the Islamic Republic had not requested a meeting between the two leaders.
“Not this year, nor last year,” he told the CNN. “We have never made such a request for a meeting with the president of the United States.”
Rouhani also noted that while Iran had received eight requests from US officials for a meeting last year, he did not think talks between the two sides were “appropriate,” then or now.
Commenting on being called “a lovely man” by Trump, Rouhani said the US president is merely “playing with words and will not get us to any solutions.”
The remarks come amid a diplomatic standoff between Washington and Tehran after Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), despite objections from the other signatories to the accord.
Besides re-imposing the anti-Iran sanctions it had lifted under the accord, the Trump administration has also been seeking to put even more economic pressure on the Islamic Republic by threatening the European firms doing business with Tehran with punitive measures.
Elsewhere in his interview, Rouhani said the remaining parties to the JCPOA have proven they want to salvage the agreement, but that they have fallen short of expectations.
Iran says the signatories to the JCPOA need to bear the cost of standing up to US sanctions in order to keep the deal alive following Washington’s unilateral and illegal withdrawal.
Tehran has emphasized that it will stay in the nuclear accord only if it is provided with “practical guarantees” that its economic dividends of the deal will remain intact.
Takfiri terrorism biggest threat to Islam
In New York, the Iranian chief executive also met with leaders of US Muslim communities.
Rouhani described Takfiri terrorism as the biggest threat to the holy faith of Islam, Rouhani called on Muslims across the world to help show the true image of the holy religion to the world.
“The Daesh crime was not and is not solely killing people. Daesh terrorists did not only oppress the people of the region by their actions, but also the beliefs of Islamic and regional nations,” he added.
The president highlighted the role of Iran in countering Takfiri terrorists in Syria and said the Arab country’s future should be decided by its own people at ballot boxes.