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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

US Pres and Irainian Pres Speak By Phone

Posted by on Sep. 27, 2013 at 11:21 PM
  • 6 Replies

This is kind of a big deal.  Kind of a big honking deal.  First time this has happened since the late 70s.  Obama and Rouhani speak by phone.  Esp given what's going on in Syria and Iran's involvement, Iran's efforts for nuclear power or weapons....

This is super interesting.  This is historic.  I wonder where it will go for the US, Isreal, Iraq, Syria, and the people of Iran?  I wonder what the Ayatollah thinks?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/28/us-un-assembly-iran-idUSBRE98Q16S20130928

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke by telephone on Friday, the highest-level contact between the two countries in three decades and a sign that they are serious about reaching a pact on Tehran's nuclear program.

The call is the culmination of a dramatic shift in tone between Iran and the United States, which cut diplomatic relations with Iran a year after the 1979 revolution that toppled U.S. ally Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and led to the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis in Tehran.

Obama has said for years he was open to direct contact with Iran while also stressing that all options - including military strikes - were on the table to prevent Iran building a nuclear bomb.

The U.S. president had hoped to meet with the relatively moderate Rouhani at the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week, but the Iranian side decided an encounter was too complicated, in what was seen by White House officials as an effort to avoid antagonizing hardliners in Tehran.

On Friday, however, the Iranians said Rouhani expressed interest in a phone discussion before he left the United States, according to a senior administration official. The White House quickly arranged the call, which took place at 2:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) and lasted about 15 minutes.

A source close to Rouhani said the United States had reached out after positive talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif a day earlier.

Speaking to reporters, Obama said he and Rouhani had directed their teams to work quickly toward an agreement on Iran's nuclear program. He said this was a unique opportunity to make progress with Tehran over an issue that has isolated it from the West.

"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 said at the White House.

"The test will be meaningful, transparent, and verifiable actions, which can also bring relief from the comprehensive international sanctions that are currently in place" against Iran, Obama said.

Rouhani, in his Twitter account, said that in the conversation he told Obama "Have a Nice Day!" and Obama responded with "Thank you. Khodahafez (goodbye)."

He added that the two men "expressed their mutual political will to rapidly solve the nuclear issue."

The price of oil fell on Friday as tensions eased between the United States and Iran after the Obama-Rouhani talk.

"The phone call was an important milestone - a calculated risk by two cautious leaders mindful of domestic constraints," said Yasmin Alem, senior fellow at Atlantic Council's South Asia Center. "More than anything else it shows the high level of political capital invested in a peaceful resolution of the nuclear crisis."

TABOO BROKEN

The telephone call, the first between the heads of government of the two nations since 1979, came while Rouhani was heading to the airport after his first visit to the U.N. General Assembly, according to a statement on Rouhani's official website.

"The biggest taboo in Iranian politics has been broken. This is the beginning of a new era," said Ali Vaez, a senior Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group.

Such a call could not have been imagined under Rouhani's predecessor, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who antagonized Israel and the United States and denied the Holocaust.

A hardline website believed by Iran experts to be affiliated with Ahmadinejad, Rajanews, referred to the call as a "strange and useless action."

As president, Rouhani is the head of the government but has limited powers. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the ultimate authority in Iran with final say on domestic and foreign policy, though Rouhani says he has been given full authority to negotiate on the nuclear issue.

Obama, who expressed willingness as a presidential candidate in 2007 to reach out to U.S. adversaries, nodded to that power dynamic in his remarks, saying both men had given signals that Iran would not pursue nuclear arms.

"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," Obama said.

"I have made clear that we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy in the context of Iran meeting its obligations."

Western powers say they believe Iran has been pursuing nuclear weapons for some time. Iran says its aims are peaceful and focused on energy production.

The Obama administration official said the United States had told the Israeli government about the Obama-Rouhani call. Israel is deeply skeptical about the shift in Iran's rhetoric and has warned its allies to be wary of Rouhani.

Rouhani was on a charm offensive during his week in New York, repeatedly stressing Iran's desire for normal relations with Western powers and denying it wanted a nuclear arsenal, while urging an end to sanctions that are crippling its economy.

OUTREACH

In his speech to the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Obama cautiously embraced Rouhani's gestures as the basis for a possible nuclear deal and challenged him to demonstrate his sincerity.

However, the failure to orchestrate a handshake between the two leaders that day, apparently because of Rouhani's concerns about a backlash from hardliners at home, seemed to underscore how hard it may be to make diplomatic progress.

Iran and the United States back opposite sides in the Syrian civil war and have been at loggerheads for years over Israel, Tehran's support for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon and other issues. Washington broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in 1980 because of the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis. Fifty-two Americans were held hostage for 444 days.

Rouhani, who took office last month, told a news conference earlier on Friday he hoped talks with the United States and five other major powers "will yield, in a short period of time, tangible results," on a nuclear deal.

He said Iran would bring a plan to resolve the decade-long dispute over Tehran's nuclear program to an October meeting with the six powers in Geneva.

He offered no details about that plan, but emphasized that Tehran's nuclear ambitions are entirely peaceful.

(Additional reporting by Yeganeh Torbati, John Irish, Steve Holland, Mark Felsenthal and Marcus George; Editing by Alistair Bell and Xavier Briand)

by on Sep. 27, 2013 at 11:21 PM
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Replies (1-6):
collectivecow
by Gold Member on Sep. 28, 2013 at 12:03 AM

Iran would have to do a lot more than just phoning the US.

Rouhani has already given a few hints at re-establishing a connection, but the response from the Obama administration was that Iran respond with actions, not talk.

Right now, it's too early in Rouhani's Administration to see what his motives are (which may be to gain alliance with America in order to push for Iranian nuclear technology).

I do however applaud him for denouncing Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial, by stating that just because Ahmadinejad believed this does not mean every Iranian does. I'm sure this is a major contention most people have with how they view the country. On a random note: He also wished Jewish people a good holiday season.

jaxTheMomm
by Platinum Member on Sep. 28, 2013 at 12:10 AM

Oh yes, it's early days yet.

But it's a very tentative olive branch that should be considered gently and thoughtfully, it could maybe lead to more good things.

I'm still reading & listening up - if any of it is true, Rouhani would like a nuclear free zone in the ME, and he's fighting against more extreme factions for the ear of the Ayatollah.

We shall see - but whatever, this is rather an important and historic little olive branch.

I always have hopes for the peoples of Iran.  There are so many smart young folks walking around that want a real change, but the last time they fought for that (against corruption and the Shah and the west that educated and protected him), they wound up with a theocracy that binds them.  I hope they've learned that lesson.

Quoting collectivecow:

Iran would have to do a lot more than just phoning the US.

Rouhani has already given a few hints at re-establishing a connection with the US, but the response from the Obama administration just the other day was that Iran respond with actions, rather than just statements.

Right now, it's a little too early in his Administration to see what Rouhani's motives are (which may be to gain an alliance with American in order to push for nuclear technology).

I do however applaud him for denouncing Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial, by stating that just because Ahmadinejad believed this does not mean every Iranian does. He even wished Jewish people a good holiday season.



collectivecow
by Gold Member on Sep. 28, 2013 at 12:12 AM

Well, by the same hand he also attacked Israel's undeclared nuclear status. 

Quoting jaxTheMomm:

Oh yes, it's early days yet.

But it's a very tentative olive branch that should be considered gently and thoughtfully, it could maybe lead to more good things.

I'm still reading & listening up - if any of it is true, Rouhani would like a nuclear free zone in the ME, and he's fighting against more extreme factions for the ear of the Ayatollah.

We shall see - but whatever, this is rather an important and historic little olive branch.

I always have hopes for the peoples of Iran.  There are so many smart young folks walking around that want a real change, but the last time they fought for that (against corruption and the Shah and the west that educated and protected him), they wound up with a theocracy that binds them.  I hope they've learned that lesson.

Quoting collectivecow:

Iran would have to do a lot more than just phoning the US.

Rouhani has already given a few hints at re-establishing a connection with the US, but the response from the Obama administration just the other day was that Iran respond with actions, rather than just statements.

Right now, it's a little too early in his Administration to see what Rouhani's motives are (which may be to gain an alliance with American in order to push for nuclear technology).

I do however applaud him for denouncing Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial, by stating that just because Ahmadinejad believed this does not mean every Iranian does. He even wished Jewish people a good holiday season.


Della529
by Matlock on Sep. 28, 2013 at 12:16 AM

 I'm glad they've talked, even if it was only by phone.

When the US attempts to question the Israeli stockpile of weapons, I'll believe something "fair and balanced" is in the works.

collectivecow
by Gold Member on Sep. 28, 2013 at 12:39 AM

The problem with Rouhani's proposal of the removal of all weapons in the ME is that it's wishful thinking. I highly doubt other countries would simply accept these terms. Even though it's too early in his Administration to see what will happen though, it's a positive step forward.

Quoting Della529:

I'm glad they've talked, even if it was only by phone.

When the US attempts to question the Israeli stockpile of weapons, I'll believe something "fair and balanced" is in the works.


12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Sep. 28, 2013 at 5:33 AM

Fist Obama gets played by Putin and Assad, now he is getting played by Rouhani and Khamenei.......

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