AFP: Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should not expect an invite to a leaders reception President Barack Obama will host at the UN General Assembly, the White House said Thursday. WASHINGTON (AFP) — Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should not expect an invite to a leaders reception President Barack Obama will host at the UN General Assembly, the White House said Thursday.
"I doubt it," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, when asked whether Ahmadinejad would be invited, at a time of extreme tension between Iran and the west over its nuclear program.
The two leaders are both expected to be in New York for the United Nations General Assembly later this month, and Obama will be making his debut appearance at the diplomatic showpiece.
When asked to explain Ahmadinejad's absence, Gibbs answered: "Because Iran is failing to live up to its international obligations."
Obama said during his election campaign and in the early months of his presidency that he would be willing to meet leaders of US foes like Iran for talks.
He gave Iran a deadline of September to respond to his offer for dialogue, but Washington said Thursday that the latest package of proposals from Tehran for on its nuclear program fell short of US expectations.
The UN meeting and the subsequent G20 summit in Pittsburgh are being seen as a chance for world powers to discuss whether to move ahead with a tough new regime of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad may not be alone being on the outside for Obama's big heads of state and government reception.
"I think there are others that might miss out on the hors d'oeuvres," said Gibbs, without revealing the guest list.
There had been intense speculation that Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi might be able to engineer an encounter with Obama while he is in New York.
But the release by Scotland of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi and his euphoric welcome in Libya deeply offended many Americans, who remember the 189 US nationals among 270 people killed when a Pan Am jet was blasted out of the sky in 1988.
Washington has already warned Kadhafi over his conduct while at the United Nations, saying he could aggravate ill feeling towards Libya, following a thawing of relations with the United States in recent years.