News / Middle East

Iran Confirms Exchange of Letters with Obama

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during an interview with state television at the presidency in Tehran, Sept. 10, 2013.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during an interview with state television at the presidency in Tehran, Sept. 10, 2013.
Reuters
Iran said on Tuesday that President Hassan Rouhani had exchanged letters with U.S. President Barack Obama, confirming a rare contact between leaders of the two nations at loggerheads over Iran's nuclear program, the Syrian war and other issues.
    
The United States and Iran cut off formal diplomatic ties in 1980, shortly after students and Islamic militants stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took American diplomats hostage.
    
But officials from both countries have said they are open to direct talks in order to find a diplomatic solution to a decade-long dispute over Iran's nuclear program, over which the West has imposed economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
    
Tehran denies seeking nuclear weapons but the United States and its allies suspect it is working towards such a capability.    

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Tuesday that Obama had sent Rouhani a message of congratulations on the occasion of his election.
    
“This letter has been exchanged,” Afkham said, according to the ISNA news agency. “The mechanism for exchanging these letters is through current diplomatic channels.”
    
Though rare, it is not the first time letters have been exchanged. Rouhani's predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wrote one to Obama three years ago, and Obama wrote twice directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in 2009 and 2012.
    
Obama said in an interview broadcast on Sunday he had exchanged letters with Rouhani. The two men will speak on the same day at the U.N. General Assembly next week, though there are currently no plans for them to meet.
    
Rouhani, a centrist cleric who defeated more conservative candidates in June elections, has said he wants to pursue “constructive interaction” with the world, raising expectations of a negotiated settlement to the nuclear dispute.
    
Khamenei, who would have to authorize any nuclear deal, said in a speech on Tuesday that he supported “correct and rational foreign and domestic policies,” according to ISNA.
    
Iran does not seek nuclear weapons, Khamenei said, adding that the nuclear issue was an excuse by the United States and its allies to confront Iran.
    
At a U.N. nuclear agency meeting in Vienna on Tuesday, a senior French official said Paris had noted the intention to dispel international concern about Iran's nuclear program expressed by the new government in Tehran.
    
“We would like to take this assurance in good faith, but for us to do so Iran must act as soon as possible to take concrete, verifiable measures” to ease the concern, said Bernard Bigot, who headed the French delegation to the annual member state meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: maithe from: Paris, France
September 17, 2013 2:02 PM
Strange world...
So Hassan Rouhani had exchanged letters with President Obama on the occasion of his election ( I thought Iran was still a real danger for all of us). Very nice indeed...
Assad has now a lot of time for killing more and more syrians (President Obama by the way didn't say yet "He must go"). And now the Russian President Putin looks like"the Peace Maker" (and why not the next Nobel Price??...)
Strange world...


by: Ramnarayan from: Florida, USA
September 17, 2013 6:33 AM
This is an excellent news. Issues and problems between the US and Iran can only be solved by showing willingness to talk. This may be a chance for us to finally address an issue that has engaged several of our Presidents. Since, Obama does not have to worry about reelction, this, if even if partially successful, can be his lasting legacy. I ask our President not to rely solely on his current advisors. They have shown to be singularly unsuited for the task. This may be Obama's last chance to show that we, the US still matters in the world affairs after the disaster with Syria. If some countries in the Middle East do not want to see a peace for their selfish reasons, ignore them. Go for it Obama.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid