White House: Obama 'willing' to meet with Iran's Rouhani (video)

White House: Obama 'willing' to meet with Iran's Rouhani (video)
Hilltube Video

President Obama is open to meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at next week's United Nations General Assembly Meeting, the White House said Thursday.


Press secretary Jay Carney said Obama is "willing to have that meeting … provided that Iran demonstrates a seriousness about dealing with its nuclear weapons program."

In an interview Wednesday with NBC News, Rouhani said that Iran did not want to develop a nuclear weapons programs and would be willing and able to strike a deal with the West about dismantling its atomic program.

"In its nuclear program, this government enters with full power and has complete authority,” Rouhani said, adding he had "sufficient political latitude to solve this problem.”

Carney said the rhetoric was encouraging, and that "there's no question that the new Iranian government has been taking a different approach" than what was taken under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But, Carney cautioned, "actions are more important than words."

The White House spokesman said it had "long been the position of President Obama" that he'd be willing to enter bilateral negotiations.

"The extended hand has been there from the moment the president was sworn into office," Carney said.

The overtures are likely to only increase speculation that Obama and Rouhani would meet next week in New York. Carney did say that no meetings were "currently planned."