United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he did not want to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations General Assembly next week, Bloomberg reported. However, he did not rule it out yet.

“I’m not looking to meet him,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “I don’t think they’re ready yet. But they’ll be ready. At the right time, they’ll be ready. I never rule anything out, but I prefer not meeting him.”

Relations between the two countries have been tense since the United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran in November 2018 after Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

On the sidelines of the G-7 summit in France last month, Trump had said he was open to meeting Rouhani under the right circumstances. Early this month, he had said the meeting was possible because Iran would “like to be able to solve their problem” and “we could solve it in 24 hours”. Trump said he could meet Rouhani at the United Nations event and he had no problem with it.

On Sunday, the United States blamed Iran for the drone attacks on two major oil plants in Saudi Arabia that disrupted global oil supply. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alleged that Tehran was behind almost 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia. The Houthi rebels, who took responsibility for the attacks, are backed by Iran in Yemen’s civil war.

Hassan Rouhani has been unwilling to meet Trump. On September 3, he had dismissed the idea of bilateral talks with the United States, and said that any talks – that too multilateral – would be possible only if the United States lifted all sanctions on Tehran.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the Iranian foreign ministry had dismissed the possibility of a meeting between Rouhani and Trump on the sidelines of the General Assembly, state media reported.

“Neither is such a plan on our agenda nor will such a thing happen,” the ministry said. “This meeting will not be held.”

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