Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said he would not be the first US president to seek a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani if elected.
“The president of Iran has said that he wants to talk to me,” Mr Romney told the US broadcaster Fox News.
“He said he wants a phone call.
I will not be that first choice.”
Mr Romney said he hoped that President Rouhani could resolve the nuclear dispute in a way that would make it less likely that Iran would develop nuclear weapons.
He told the ABC that the “Iranian people” would be “extremely upset” if Mr Rouhani was not willing to meet him.
“I think they would be very upset if the next president was not going to meet with the president of the country they elected,” Mr Obama said.
Mr Obama, who is campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire ahead of the first presidential debate in South Carolina, said Mr Rouhani had not met the standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“I know that he is not the first president who has sought a meeting,” he said.
“But the IAEA is still the body that sets the standards for nuclear negotiations.”
The fact is that if the president were to not meet with me, I think that would cause great concern among the Iranians,” he added.
A statement released by Mr Obama’s campaign said the two leaders had spoken in “a candid and substantive manner” on the topic of Iran’s nuclear programme and the need to improve relations between the two countries.”
He has also repeatedly expressed his willingness to work with President Rouhani to improve the relationship and resolve these longstanding issues,” the statement said.