(WASHINGTON) — President Obama said Friday he had a telephone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the first time the heads of these two countries have had direct communications 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,” Obama told a news conference after the call.
Obama underscored the significance of the phone call.
“The very fact that this was the first communication between an American and Iranian president since 1979 underscores the deep mistrust between our countries, but it also indicates the prospect of moving beyond that difficult history,” he said.
The call about the Iran’s nuclear program came days after Iran’s president avoided a face-to-face meeting with Obama. U.S. officials said at the time that it was “too complicated” for the Iranian president to meet Obama and shake hands.
The Iranian news agency IRNA confirmed the call and said it took place while Rouhani was in a car and heading towards John F. Kennedy International Airport. Rouhani had been in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN