New York 28th September 2013: US President Barack Obama yesterday has spoken by phone to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. It is the first such top-level contacts between the two countries in more than three decades since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
“Just now I spoke on the phone with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I reiterated to President Rouhani what I said in New York: While there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward, and success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive agreement,” Obama said yesterday afternoon.
Obama had hoped to meet with Rouhani earlier this week while both were in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. But Iranian government declined a US offer on Tuesday.
The call was only a symbolic step. But it is a major development in the crisis between Washington and Tehran over Iran’s nuclear program. White House officials told reporters that the historic call lasted 15 minutes.
Mr Obama expressed anxiety about American prisoners in Iran. But the majority of the call was about efforts to reach a solution on the nuclear issue.
”Iran’s supreme leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons. President Rouhani has indicated that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons. I’ve made clear that we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy in the context of Iran meeting its obligations,” said Obama.
Mr Obama said: “While there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution.”
He added that he will seek transparent, meaningful and verifiable actions on the Iranian nuclear program, which could also bring relaxations in Western sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.
Obama noted that both of them have directed their teams to continue working expeditiously with P5+1 to reach an agreement.
Rouhani said on a Twitter that he told Obama “Have a Nice Day!” and Obama responded with “Thank you. Khodahafez (goodbye).”
Mr Rouhani said he wants to reach a deal over the nuclear issue in three to six months. He says he is fully allowed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to negotiate.
“Whatever result we achieve through negotiations my government will have the full backing of all the main branches of power in Iran as well as the support of the people of Iran,” said Mr Rouhani.
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