President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani appears to want to open a dialogue with the United States and that he is willing to test whether this is the case.
Obama’s comment in an interview with Spanish-language network Telemundo was the latest indication the president would like to jump from the crisis over Syria’s chemical weapons to a new search for a diplomatic deal to ensure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon.
Last weekend, Obama revealed he and Rouhani had exchanged letters about the U.S.-Iran standoff. Both leaders will be at the U.N. General Assembly in New York next week, although White House officials say they are no current plans for them to meet.
“There is an opportunity here for diplomacy,” Obama told Telemundo. “And I hope the Iranians take advantage of it.”
Obama ran for president in 2008 in part by vowing to open a dialogue with Iran.