Nightly News   |  September 24, 2013

Rouhani criticizes US policy at UN

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called US sanctions against Iran violent, but also added Iran is open to talks that would resolve the nuclear dispute. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

Share This:

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

>> another big story we are following tonight, mindful of the ronald reagan era phrase "trust but verify," we did hear it with our ears tonight, there was the president of iran addressing them in new york, calling for talks, transparency, good will with the united states saying there is no place for nuclear weapons in iran 's arsenal or in the religion. we're about to hear that phrase "trust but verify." turns out there was no meeting with the iran and u.s. presidents . our chief correspondent andrea mitchell is covering it. good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian, it was just supposed to be a chance encounter, not even a formal meeting. but today, president obama and the iranian president were both right here at the u.n. and never caught sight of each other. mid-town manhattan today in total grid lock, more than 100 heads of state, motorcades and protesters and a security crackdown. at the u.n., president obama tried for a diplomatic breakthrough, testing the recent overtures from iran .

>> we are encouraged.

>> reporter: the president signalled they would welcome the meeting between the u.s. president and when the shah met the president in the past. rouhani did not show. some said it was because wine was served.

>> cheers.

>> reporter: the u.s. official said it was too complicated, in other words, politically risky for rouhani to be seen with obama, given the hardliners at home. the president left the u.n. without ever meeting rouhani, he said the closest he ever came was when his motorcade passed his vehicle.

>> reporter: in the past, mahmoud ahmadinejad denounced the u.s. they still criticize u.s. policy, they call sanctions against iran violent. still, he pledged iran is open to talks to dissolve the nuclear disputes and said iran does not want nuclear weapons .

>> i am hoping that they will refrain of following the short-sighted interests of war-mongering pressure groups. we can arrive at a scene to manage our differences.

>> reporter: the israeli delegation walked out before rouhani even started to speak, saying he could not be trusted. rouhani's speech was tougher in part, than some may have expected. they say overcoming decades of distrust is not going to be easy, even with this iranian leader.

>> andrea mitchell , in what has become fortress new york.