Rowhani refuses to rule out Obama meeting

Rowhani refuses to rule out Obama meeting
US President Barack Obama

WASHINGTON - Iranian President Hassan Rowhani refused to rule out a meeting with US President Barack Obama, saying in an interview broadcast Thursday "anything is possible."

Speculation is mounting that the two leaders could engineer an informal encounter when they are both at the UN General Assembly in New York next week. Asked whether he had plans to see Obama, Rowhani told NBC in the interview recorded in Tehran that he had nothing scheduled - mirroring US comments on a possible meeting.

Asked whether he would be ready to meet Obama in the near future, the Iranian leader said he was open to talks so long as the "necessary conditions" are met.

"Anything is possible in the world of politics," he said. "It depends on the necessary conditions."

Interest in a possible meeting between the presidents has arisen following a charm offensive by Rowhani, who was elected in June and has offered a new approach in inconclusive talks between Tehran and world powers of the Iranian nuclear programme.

White House officials say Obama currently has no plans for a meeting with the Iranian leader when he is in New York on Monday and Tuesday, but they have declined repeated invitations to rule out such an encounter.

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