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Obama Talks on Phone With Iran's Leader, Negotiates With Tehran

3:54 PM, Sep 27, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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President Obama announced today that he talked on the phone with Iranian president Rouhani:

"Just now I spoke on the phone with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran," he said. "The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran's nuclear program."

This is the first time leaders from America and Iran have spoken since 1979.

"I reiterated to President Rouhani what I said in New York. 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.

"I've directed Secretary Kerry to continue pursuing this diplomatic effort with the Iranian government. We had constructive discussions yesterday in New York with our partners, the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, together with the Iranian foreign minister, and going forward, President Rouhani and I have directed our teams to continue working expeditiously in corporation with the P-5 plus one to pursue an agreement. And throughout this process we will stay in close touch with our friends and allies in the region, including Israel.

"Now we are mindful of all the challenges ahead. The very fact that this was the first communication between an American and Iranian president since 1979 underscores the deep mistrust between our countries."

Obama said that "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."

"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. So the test will be meaningful, transparent, and verifiable actions," said Obama, which could lead to a relaxation of sanctions.

Obama talked of a new relationship between the U.S. and Iran, if his diplomatic efforts succeed.

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