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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More