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US, Iran presidents talk for first time since 1979

world Updated: Sep 30, 2013 11:52 IST
Barack Obama

In a dramatic move, US President Barack Obama on Saturday spoke to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rowhani over phone - the first highest-level contact between two countries in more than 30 years - signalling hope of a rapprochement that has potential to transform the West Asia.

In a hurriedly arranged telephone call, Obama called Rowhani who was headed to the airport after spending a hectic week at the New York during which he met a host of world leaders and gave interviews to major US media outlets.

“Just now I spoke on the phone with President Rowhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear programme,” Obama told reporters at a hurriedly convened press conference. “I reiterated to President Rowhani 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,” he said in his statement to the press at the end of which he did not take any question.

Obama said he has directed secretary of state John Kerry to continue pursuing diplomatic efforts with the Iranian government. A Twitter account in Rowhani’s name later stated, “In regards to nuclear issue, with political will, there is a way to rapidly solve the matter.”