Iran says 'no plans' for Trump-Rohani meet on UN sidelines

This combination of file pictures created on July 23, 2018 shows US President Donald Trump during a Cabinet meeting on July 18, 2018, at the White House in Washington, DC, and a file handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency on May 2, 2018 on showing President Hassan Rohani giving a speech on Iranian TV in Tehran. — AFP

TEHRAN — Iran said on Monday there were no plans for President Hassan Rohani to meet his US counterpart Donald Trump at an upcoming UN gathering, as tensions mount over attacks on Saudi oil sites.

European powers have been trying to de-escalate the tensions that have spiraled since Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from a 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran.

The White House said on Sunday that Trump could meet Rohani on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.

"We have neither planned for this meeting, nor do I think such a thing would happen in New York," Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, quoted by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

"As we have stated before, if the Americans return to the JCPOA and cease their economic terrorism, they can return to the joint commission and talk," Mousavi added.

He was referring to a commission within the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 agreement that gave Iran the promise of relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Since pulling out of the nuclear deal, the US has slapped waves of sanctions on Iran that have targeted its armed forces, financial sector and senior officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

That has raised questions as to whether or not Iran's top diplomat will attend the UN gathering in New York at which the general debate opens on Sept. 24.

His ministry's spokesman Mousavi said on Monday that Zarif would travel to New York for the gathering together with Rohani "if the conditions are right". — AFP