Nation & World News

Obama Says He And Iran’s Rowhani Have Exchanged Letters

By Bill Chappell on September 15th, 2013

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/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

People walk past and take pictures of Swiss artist Peter Regli's "Snow Monsters 2015" during a storm in New York City Monday. Areas of New York and neighboring states are expected to get up to 2 feet of snow in a large and dangerous storm.

‘Crippling’ Snowfall Predicted As Storm Hits Northeast

In areas such as New York City, the worst of the snow is expected to hit around midnight. The next time the city will have less than a 50 percent chance of snow won’t come until 3 p.m. ET Tuesday.


Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez unveiled her plan to replace her country's intelligence service with a new agency. She delivered a televised speech while seated in a wheelchair in Buenos Aires.

Argentina’s President Dissolves Intelligence Agency, Citing Prosecutor’s Death

A week after an Argentine prosecutor was found dead on the eve of his testimony about an alleged government cover-up of a terrorist attack, President Cristina Fernandez unveils a new plan.


Jeffrey Sterling, Former CIA Officer, Is Convicted Of Espionage

Jeffrey Sterling was fired from the CIA in 2002. His case has drawn wide attention in part because he was accused of giving secret information to James Risen of The New York Times.


An Asteroid Is Passing Very Close To Earth Today. Here’s How To See It

At its closest point, asteroid 2004 BL86 came within about 750,000 miles from Earth — or almost three times farther away than the moon.


SkyMall art by Kevin and Miles Taylor.

Just Plane Sad: A Show Of Support For SkyMall

News last week that SkyMall’s parent company has filed for bankruptcy protection inspired an outpouring of odes to the kitschy in-flight catalog.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments