Obama's New Pen Pal: The President of Iran
US is hoping to thaw relations with Rouhani
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Sep 12, 2013 7:26 AM CDT
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani speaks during an interview with state television at the presidency in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 10, 2013.   (AP Photo/Presidency Office, Rouzbeh Jadidoleslam)

(Newser) – US-Iranian relations have been tense lately—and by "lately" we mean for more than three decades—but the election of moderate Hasan Rouhani may have changed all that. President Obama has been exchanging letters with Rouhani in recent weeks, the LA Times reports, and officials say it's possible the two will meet on the sidelines of the next UN General Assembly in two weeks. US and Iranian officials are also quietly working up to the first face-to-face talks between the nations since the Islamic Revolution.

Both sides have been more cordial in public as well. Obama made a point of listing Iran as a potential ally in controlling Syria's chemical weapons in a recent interview, pointing out that Iran "detests" chemical weapons, having been on the receiving end of them in the Iran-Iraq war. (Naturally, he didn't mention the US' role in those attacks.) Rouhani, meanwhile, has been eschewing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's anti-Western bluster and Holocaust denials—he even sent a tweet wishing Jews a happy Rosh Hashanah. Another sign the new administration may be different: Iran's new envoy to the UN nuclear agency says he will cooperate with the agency to "overcome existing issues once and for all," Reuters reports. He also, however, said Iran won't give up its right to produce nuclear energy.

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Showing 3 of 27 comments
KDickley
Sep 15, 2013 12:36 PM CDT
Why doesn't muslim loving President Obobo mind his own busniness and stop sending trillions to turd world countries and spend it here in America?
HANKHILL
Sep 13, 2013 1:27 PM CDT
pen pal? ha! BARACK INSANE OBOMBER IS A KEY BACKER OF HIS IRANIAN MUSLIM BROTHERS! HE IS AFTER ALL THE WOULD BE PHARAOH OF THE NEW MUSLIM WORLD!
jimmygatl
Sep 13, 2013 7:33 AM CDT
Before those reading get all excited thinking that US and Iran are going to become great pals, know one thing - the president of Iran has no real power. As intelligent a politician as Rouhani is, he's essentially the figurehead that keeps up public appearances and maintains international diplomacy, really about as important as Secretary of State John Kerry, which is important but not someone that can bring about real change without consent from the President. The Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei holds the real power and has held that position since 1989. He appoints all the critical cabinet and military positions, influences the religious elite who control the industry, and he dictates policy with ultimate veto power. So, as comforting as it is that Hasan Rouhani is relaxing on the vitriolic anti-American hate, Mohammad Khatami, who preceded Ahmadinejad as president, was from the same school of thought and we got nowhere despite his openness. So to sum up, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is the guy that can really make things change, hence his position at number 21 on Forbes' Worlds Most Powerful People list, and Iranian President Rouhani is just a dude that keeps us off the Ayatollah's back and makes speeches to appease the Iranian public to keep them from wanting to revolt against the clandestine dictatorship that exists under the Ayatollah.