Historic talks between the US and Iran take place
The first talks for 30 years have taken place between the American and Iranian presidents, indicating a new willingness to work together to resolve differences regarding Iran’s nuclear programme.
The 15 minute telephone call, apparently initiated by Iran’s president Rouhani, comes three days after Iran backed out of a face-to-face meeting with President Obama, which cast doubt over Iran’s commitment to progress.
Mr Obama acknowledged that there will be “important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed” but said that the two countries now had a “unique opportunity” to reach a “comprehensive solution”.
In an address from the White House, Mr Obama emphasised the significance of the talks, saying: “The very fact that this was the first communication between an American and Iranian president since 1979 underscores the deep mistrust between our countries, but it also indicates the prospect of moving beyond that difficult history.”
There has been a significant change in tone between the two countries; Mr Obama expressed his “deep respect” for the Iranian people, while Mr Rouhani described the US as a “great” nation.
It was also revealed on Mr Rouhani’s official Twitter account that Mr Obama had ended the conversation with the Farsi expression “Khodahafez” or “May God look over you”, while Mr Rouhani ended with “Have a nice day!”.
The tweet has since been deleted but White House officials have confirmed that President Obama signed-off in Farsi and Mr Rouhani in English.
Further positive developments came from an earlier meeting between Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the foreign ministers of the P5+1 grouping, namely Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and US.
Afterwards, Mr Zarif outlined a plan to work through the impasse over Iran’s nuclear enrichment and fresh talks were announced to take place next month in Geneva.
Iran has also had “very constructive” talks with the International Atomic Energy Authority, who have long had questions for Iran and are eager for the country to share more information.
The warming of relations between Iran and the US reflects a change of mood amongst the Iranian people who want to see an end to the crippling international economic sanctions imposed due to the stubbornness of previous leaders to engage with the international community over the nuclear issue.
Mr Obama remains positive about the prospects of success and sees these developments as an opportunity for “greater peace and stability” across the Middle East.