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Obama calls Iranian president, ending 34-year-long standoff and giving hope to nuclear deal

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obama on phone with iran (pete souza)
obama on phone with iran (pete souza)

President Obama spoke by phone with Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, today, marking what he says is the first time that the countries' heads of state have spoken together since 1979. Speaking to the press, Obama said that he and Rouhani discussed Iran's nuclear program, which the US has been increasingly concerned over. Iran has maintained that the program is meant solely for developing energy, while the US is concerned that it will ultimately be used to construct weapons.

"I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution."

"While there will certainly be obstacles moving forward — and success is by no means guaranteed — I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution," Obama told the press. The president has instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to continue working toward an agreement with the Iranian government, though he doesn't detail what that might entail. Obama spoke hopefully about what may come from the talks, "We have a unique opportunity to make progress with the new leadership in Tehran."

Rouhani's English-language Twitter account spoke to the Iranian president's own impressions of the conversation, writing that he told Obama, "In regards to #nuclear issue, with political #will, there is a way to rapidly solve the matter." The account also writes that Rouhani is hopeful about what he will see from the American government and from P5+1 — a group of countries in discussions about Iran's nuclear program — in the coming weeks and months. Though Obama himself didn't go into much detail about the phone call, he did remark that "constructive discussions" on resolving the nuclear issue were already underway at the United Nations General Assembly yesterday.

Update: Shortly after the talk, several of the tweets on Rouhani's account have been pulled, such as the one embedded below. It's unclear if the tweets were originally penned by Rouhani himself or a press team, and no explanation has been given for their disappearance. At least three tweets were removed, all of which spoke to Rouhani's hope for a resolution over the nuclear dispute.