It’s the First Time the Heads of the Two Countries Spoke Since 1979
President Obama spoke by phone today with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, the first time the heads of these two countries have had direct communications since 1979.
“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,” the president said in a hastily announced statement in briefing room.
Obama underscored the significance of the phone call.
“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,” he said.
The Iranian news agency IRNA confirmed the call and said it took place while Rouhani was in a car and heading towards John F. Kennedy International Airport. Rouhani had been in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
The call about the Iran’s nuclear program came days after Iran’s president avoided a face-to-face meeting with Obama. U.S. officials said at the time that it was “too complicated” for the Iranian president to meet Obama and shake hands.
The conversation comes as the new Iranian president has shown a willingness to work with Obama even as his country has not made any concrete steps to fulfill the preconditions that Obama required for negotiations on the nuclear issue.
What do you suppose they actually said? One imaginary transcript:
O: “Look, Hassan, We have nuclear weapons …”
R: “Yes, yes, we know.”
O: “and we will use them.”
R: “Yes, you’ve shown that. We almost have one, you know.”
O: “Bad move. We are going to break your reactors.”
R: “Careful, you might cause a disaster somewhere.”
O: “Don’t care. The club is full.”
R: “We will join, we have friends.”
O: “We can do things to you, and to your friends.”
R: “(long pause) Okay. Goodbye.”
O: “Goodbye, to you.”