The Herald reports:
Breaking a third-of-a-century diplomatic freeze, President Barack Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have spoken by telephone and agreed to work toward resolving their deep dispute over Tehran’s nuclear efforts.
Rouhani, who earlier in the day called the United States a “great” nation, reached out to arrange the 15-minute call. The last direct conversation between the leaders of the two countries was in 1979 before the Iranian Revolution toppled the pro-US shah and brought Islamic militants to power.
Obama said the long break “underscores the deep mistrust between our countries, but it also indicates the prospect of moving beyond that difficult history.”
“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,” Obama told reporters at the White House. Iran’s nuclear program has been a major concern not only to the United States but to other Middle Eastern nations especially Israel and to the world at large.
Rouhani, at a news conference in New York, linked the US and Iran as “great nations,” a remarkable reversal from the anti-American rhetoric of his predecessors, and he expressed hope that at the very least the two governments could stop the escalation of tensions.
It’s only a phone call, but it is a very encouraging sign that Iran sees benefits in rejoining the mainstream.
What is remarkable is not just the phone call between the two Presidents, but the fact that news of it broke on Twitter – from the Iranian President. We do live in a very different world to 1979!