Donald Trump
Donald Trump Reuters

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he would prefer not to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly next week.

“I never rule anything out, but I prefer not meeting him,” Trump said aboard Air Force One, according to The Hill.

Trump recently expressed an openness to meeting Rouhani, as French President Emmanuel Macron tried or organize a meeting between the two in an attempt to save the 2015 nuclear deal.

The Iranian President later made clear that he will not meet Trump unless all sanctions against Tehran are unilaterally lifted by the US.

The shift comes as the US has indicated Iran was responsible for strikes on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities over the weekend. Trump said Monday that the US is still assessing the fallout from the attack on two oil sites in Saudi Arabia.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that Trump could meet Rouhani with “no preconditions”, but he also stressed the US would be “maintaining the maximum pressure campaign” on the Islamic Republic.

Trump on Sunday rejected reports that he is willing to meet his Iranian counterpart with no preconditions.

“The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, ‘No Conditions.’ That is an incorrect statement (as usual!),” Trump tweeted.