Nightly News   |  September 23, 2013

World awaits Iran president’s UN debut

President Hassan Rouhani arrived in the US Monday on his first trip to address the UN. Both he and President Obama will be speaking at the UN on Tuesday but it’s still unknown as to whether the two leaders will meet. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> much of the city of new york looks like a fortress, a kind of modern police state . barricades, streets shut down, automatic weapons out and visible. that's because on top of the security concerns after this kenya attack, this is the week each year of the u.n. general assembly . president obama is in town and so is the new president of iran , among other leaders. and there is a lot of speculation that the two might meet. our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell has our report.

>> reporter: iran's new president hassan rouhani arrived in the u.s. tonight, announcing his arrival on social media , tweeting out a picture. his first trip to address the u.n. he turned his departure from tehran into an event. a big send-off with fanfather. -- fan fare. he said he would try to show the real face of the iranian nation to the world as a nation who loves culture and peace. he tweeted, ready for constructive engagement with world to show real image of great iranian nation. he's already had a warm exchange of letters with president obama telling ann curry --

>> translator: from my point of view, the tone of the letter was positive and constructive.

>> reporter: the two presidents will both be speaking at the u.n. tomorrow. but will they meet? if they do it would be the first meeting between u.s. and iranian leaders in two decades since the iranian revolution . the choreography would be delicate. president obama gives his speech to the u.n. in the morning. they could meet at lunch if rouhani shows up. if so, would it be a casual chat, a handshake? even that would be symbolic. it could be risky for mr. obama. rouhani speaks to the u.n. after lunch in the afternoon. president obama has no idea what he might say. and key allies like saudi arabia are already warning that iran could be setting a trap.

>> rohani will continue to smile, appease all the way to the boom.

>> reporter: bill clinton said on the pbs news hour.

>> this is positive. the new president seems to want a reproachment with the united states . we have to make sure if we do this it's real.

>> reporter: tonight u.n. officials indicate they do not exb expect rouhani to attend tomorrow's lunch after all. there could be an encounter between the leaders. if that happens it would be historic. that is if either president can get to the u.n. given the traffic jams they have created.

>> it's unbelievable out there tonight.

>> terrible.

>> thank you as always.