Politics

U.S. Could Being Headed Towards Face-to-Face Talks With Iran

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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President Barack Obama has been communicating with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about Syria through letters, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Officials say it’s possible they will meet at the next United Nations General Assembly in two weeks, potentially the first talks between the two nations since the Islamic revolution. Diplomatic relations between Iran and the US have been broken since radical students attacked the US Embassy in Tehran 34 years ago.

Recently both governments issued public statement that they are hoping to scale back tension. Furthermore, as one of Syria’s closest allies, Iran has been integral in getting President Bashar Assad to hand over Syria's chemical weapons. Iran supplies Syria with its conventional arms.

"You know, one reason that this may have a chance of success is that even Syria's allies, like Iran, detest chemical weapons," Obama told CNN. "Iran, you know, unfortunately was the target of chemical weapons at the hands of Saddam Hussein back during the Iraq-Iran War … And you know, I suspect that some of Assad's allies recognize the mistake he made in using these weapons and it may be that he is under pressure from them as well."

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The relatively moderate Rouhani will address the UN on Sept. 24. Since his election in June, he has toned down the anti-Western sentiments and Holocaust denials of his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ray Takeyh, an Iran specialist at the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations, said all signs are pointing to a reconciliation of diplomatic relations.

They "want to get together for talks, and perhaps for sustained ones," said Takeyh.

It is still unclear whether this new openness to talk means Iran is ready to give up its nuclear program, which it denies even exists.

"Maybe the plan is to rebuild the image and make themselves look like a trustworthy member of the international community," Takeyh said. "Maybe the plan is to say, 'You can trust us with a nuclear program.'"

The White House would not confirm that the letters between Obama and Rouhani existed.

Sources: Newser, Los Angeles Times