President Obama announces he's spoken with Iran's president

It's the first time the leaders of the U.S. and Iran have directly communicated since 1979

By Elias Isquith
September 28, 2013 12:15AM (UTC)
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President Obama announced Friday that he had spoken earlier by phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, representing a major diplomatic breakthrough and the first time the leadership of the United States and Iran had spoken to one another since 1979.

From the New York Times:


President Obama said Friday he had spoken by phone with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, the first direct contact between the leaders of Iran and United States since 1979. Mr. Obama, speaking in the White House briefing room, said the two leaders discussed Iran’s nuclear program and said he was persuaded there was a basis for an agreement.

Mr. Obama expressed an interest in meeting Mr. Rouhani during the United Nations General Assembly meeting earlier this week, but Mr. Rouhani demurred, saying there had not been enough time to set up a meeting. But Mr. Obama instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Thursday, and the tempo of diplomacy between Washington and Iran has picked up pace all week.

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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Barack Obama Foreign Policy Hassan Rouhani Iran Iranian Nuclear Program