Rouhani, Obama make tentative moves toward ending hostilities
By Tim Witcher, AFPUNITED NATIONS, United States--President Barack Obama and Iran's new leader made very tentative moves Tuesday to end decades of hostility between their countries but could not break the deadlock enough to organize a meeting.
September 26, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
Obama said an accord was possible if Iran ends concerns over its nuclear program.
New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Obama to ignore “war-mongering pressure groups” to make a deal. He said he was ready for “time-bound and results oriented” talks.
The longstanding gap between the United States and Iran was evident in Obama and Rouhani's speeches to the U.N. General Assembly and the failure to orchestrate at least a symbolic handshake between them.
Obama said mistrust between the United States and Iran has “deep roots” and that Tehran's “pursuit of nuclear weapons” would remain a U.S. foreign policy priority.
But a “meaningful agreement” between the arch-rivals is possible, he added.
“I don't believe this difficult history can be overcome overnight — the suspicion runs too deep,” said Obama.
“But I do believe that if we can resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear program, that can serve as a major step down a long road towards a different relationship — one based on mutual interests and mutual respect.”
Hasan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 24. (AP)