Obama Says He And Iran's Rowhani Have Exchanged Letters | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Obama Says He And Iran's Rowhani Have Exchanged Letters

In the weeks since Iran's President Hasan Rowhani was elected this summer, he and President Obama have swapped letters, Obama says. The U.S. president discussed the exchange for the first time publicly in an interview with George Stephanopoulos that aired on ABC's This Week Sunday.

The interview was conducted Friday, before U.S. and Russian diplomats hammered out a deal to rid Syria of its chemical weapons arsenal. But the question arose of what message other countries might infer from the U.S. pursuit of a diplomatic rather than a military solution to the Syrian dilemma — particularly in Iran, which is pursuing a nuclear program against U.S. wishes.

Asked if he had reached out personally to Iran's president, Obama answered, "I have. And he's reached out to me. We haven't spoken directly ..." At this point, Stephanopolous asked if he meant they'd exchanged letters, and Obama said yes.

But the president didn't predict a rosy future of easy dealings with Iran as a result of its new leader, who is seen as more moderate than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"Negotiations with the Iranians is always difficult," Obama said. "I think this new president is not going to suddenly make it easy."

Speaking of Iran in light of the Syrian crisis, the president noted that for the U.S., preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is a higher priority than ridding Syria of chemical weapons. And Iran's leaders should remember that, he said.

"My suspicion is that the Iranians recognize they shouldn't draw a lesson that we haven't struck [Syria] — to think that we won't strike Iran. On the other hand, what they should draw from this lesson is that there is the potential of resolving these issues diplomatically," Obama said.

The president added, "My view is that if you have both a credible threat of force, combined with a rigorous diplomatic effort that in fact, you can strike a deal."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Miss Colombia Wins Pageant; Miss Jamaica Wins Twitter?

Days later, bad feelings linger among the Miss Universe pageant viewers who believe that the wrong contestant won. Many watchers on social media say Miss Jamaica should being wearing the crown.
NPR

Watch 'Bob's Burgers'? Now You Can Eat Them, Too

What happens when you try to make a burger out of a pun? One blog, two years, and dozens of recipes later, millions of fans can now cook up their very own Bob's burgers.
WAMU 88.5

Drilling Off Virginia Coast Could Harm Neighboring States, Cardin Says

The Obama administration has decided to open up the Atlantic states to offshore drilling, a move that is not playing well among East Coast democrats like U.S. Sen. Cardin (D-MD).
NPR

Facebook Suffers Self-Inflicted Outage

A Facebook statement said the disruption was caused by a technical change it made to the site and wasn't a cyberattack. The outage lasted an hour.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.