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

Migrants arriving at the Lampedusa island harbor aboard an Italian Coast Guard ship early Sunday. Ships rescued 3,690 migrants in just one day from smugglers' boats on the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast, the Italian Coast Guard says.

Italian Coast Guard Rescues 3,700 Migrants In Mediterranean

A series of small operations in a single day managed to pick up the refugees fleeing North Africa in smugglers’ boats in hopes of reaching Europe.


Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks during a media availability at City Hall, on Friday. The mayor announced Sunday that she was lifting a week-long 10 p.m. curfew that followed civil unrest over the death of Freddie Gray from injuries he sustained in police custody.

Baltimore Mayor Lifts Curfew

Stephanie Rawlings-Black announced via Twitter that she has rescinded the curfew effective immediately.


A boy crawls into the ruins of a collapsed building to look for usable things in Nepal capital Kathmandu on Sunday. Officials say they have found three survivors in the rubble a full week after a powerful earthquake.

101-Year-Old Man Among Quake Survivors Found In Nepal

Another man and a woman were rescued from wreckage in a village a full week after the devastating magnitude-7.8 earthquake that has more than 7,000.


Leg 5 from New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil aboard aboard Team SCA in March.

A Boat Of Their Own: All-Women Team Tackles Sailing’s Toughest Race

For the first time since 2001, an all-women team is competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, an around-the-world slog through some of the most unforgiving water on the planet.


American Pharoah #18, ridden by Victor Espinoza (left), races Firing Line #10, ridden by Gary Stevens, out of turn 4 during the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

American Pharoah Wins 2015 Kentucky Derby

The Bob Baffert-trained horse, ridden by Victor Espinoza, was the favorite heading into the 141st Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville.


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
Underwriting Payments