President Barack Obama heads to the United Nations next week -- but he’s not scheduled to meet there with Russian President Vladimir Putin or Iran’s Hassan Rouhani -- despite potential common ground for a conversation.
“I don't know that either of those individuals will appear on the president's dance card next week,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.
The White House had said before before last year’s UN general assembly that Obama would be open to meeting with Rouhani as the two countries sought to settle their disagreements over Iran’s nuclear program. The meeting never occurred, but the two later did speak by phone, the first conversation between the presidents of the United States and Iran in more than 30 years.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday there’s no plans for a meeting between the two presidents, but noted there are ongoing talks between senior administration officials and their Iranian counterparts, “principally focused on resolving the nuclear issue.”
Iran on Monday ruled out working with any international coalition to defeat the Islamic State, but Earnest insisted the U.S. would not not coordinate military action or share intelligence with Iran, “and we don't have any plans to do so.”
Obama also has no plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, though Earnest noted that Russia, “like much of the developed world, the civilized world, is rightly concerned” about the threat posed by Islamic State militants.
He suggested that “there may be an opportunity for us to find a constructive way to work with the Russians on this.” -- as it did in convincing Syrian President Bashar Assad to give up chemical weapons.