By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
Not since 1979 have the leaders of the United States and Iran spoken directly. That all changed on Friday, when President Barack Obama spoke by telephone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani! This positive news follows recent warming of relations between the US and Iran, after years of concern by the US over Iran’s nuclear technology being used to make weapons.
The previous Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was very unfriendly, and the US crippled Iran’s ability to earn money, advance science, and build their military with economic sanctions (restrictions). However, Rouhani, who was sworn in recently, has shifted Iran’s attitude dramatically, opening the way for better US and Iranian relations. He’s made sure to emphasize repeatedly that Iran has zero plans on ever using nuclear technology for weapons.
Obama believes an agreement between the two nations over Iran’s desire to develop their nuclear power for peaceful energy purposes is possible. Speaking to reporters at the White House, Obama expressed, “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.” As for Rouhani, he believes the US and Iran can settle their differences soon, and explained, “I assure you that on the Iranian side, this will is there fully, 100%, that within a very short period of time, there will be a settlement on the nuclear issue.”
Besides the phone call, the two presidents also communicated with one another via Twitter! According to Rouhani’s posts, he was told by Obama that “relations between Iran and US will greatly affect the region.” The Middle East has been a real hotspot of chaos, and given Iran’s strong influence on surrounding countries, Rouhani would indeed prove a powerful ally. After all of the recent drama over Syria’s possible use of chemical weapons, Rouhani is willing to help calm the situation if a deal can be made with the US over Iranian nuclear power. Obama also acknowledged how important Iran is to a balanced Middle East, tweeting, “@BarackObama to @HassanRouhani If we can make progress on #nuclear file, other issues such as #Syria will certainly be positively affected.” Rouhani responded by tweeting, “In regards to #nuclear issue, with political #will, there is a way to rapidly solve the matter.”
Iranian citizens are also excited by the developments between the US and Iran. One of its residents, Syed Ali Akbar, says, “I just feel it. It’s not like anything, but I feel it. It’s the best thing to do. We’ve been hurting ourselves for years.” At the Barbari Bread Shop, Hossein Mohamadi talked about how hard it’s been for the Iranian people under the US-led sanctions on their economy. “The sanctions have hurt us,” he admitted, adding, “Prices have gone up. There are things you can’t find.” As far as his country’s president, Mohamadi says, “With Mr. Rouhani here, we’ve become more hopeful that things will improve.”