Iran, US Presidents may meet for the first time in 34 years

16 September 2013 12:15
First meeting of US and Iranian leaders since 1979 revolution could open way to diplomatic end to Iranian nuclear standoff, reports Iranian.com. An exchange of letters between Barack Obama and the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, has set the stage for a possible meeting between the two men at the UN next week in what would be the first face-to-face encounter between a US and Iranian leader since Iran's 1979 revolution. In a television interview aired on Sunday, Obama made clear that there was a diplomatic opening with Iran, not only over the nuclear question but also over Syria. He confirmed earlier reports that he and Rouhani had "reached out" to each other, exchanging letters. Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council and an expert on US-Iran diplomacy, said “I think there is a chance [of a meeting]. It would be a strong political push for movement”. Obama also urged Iran's leadership not to draw the wrong lessons from his decision to draw back from air strikes on Syria in pursuit of a diplomatic solution to the chemical weapons crisis. He said it showed that it was possible to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear aspirations peacefully, but insisted it did not indicate a weakening of US resolve to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. To be noted, the last encounter between an American and Iranian leader was when Jimmy Carter met the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in 1977.