US, Iran leaders talk for first time since 1979
WASHINGTON (AP) - Breaking a third-of-a-century diplomatic freeze, President Barack Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke by telephone on Friday and, in a historic shift from years of unwavering animosity, agreed to work toward resolving their deep dispute over Tehran's nuclear efforts.
Mr Rouhani, who earlier in the day called the United States (US) a "great" nation, reached out to arrange the call. The White House said an encouraging meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif this week was a crucial factor in the thaw.
"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," Mr Obama told reporters at the White House.
Mr Rouhani, at a news conference in New York, linked the US and Iran as "great nations", a remarkable reversal from the anti-American rhetoric of his predecessors, and he expressed hope that at the very least the two governments can stop the escalation of tensions.