‘Rouhani-Obama phone chat no thaw in ties’

‘Rouhani-Obama phone chat no thaw in ties’
Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:19:18

An Iranian deputy foreign minister has raised doubts that the recent phone exchange between presidents of Iran and the US can erase age-old grievances that Tehran holds against Washington.

“We are still at the beginning of a long path. Furthermore, we have our doubts, and, as the Leader [of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei] said, one cannot be optimistic about these talks; but this is a path the Leader has also said is not opposed to,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi said on Saturday.

Referring to the White House’s request for a meeting between the presidents of the two countries, Araqchi said Hassan Rouhani declined the offer because arranging such a meeting after a long history of tense relations involved many complications.

Araqchi added that after Iran rejected the White House’s request for a meeting, the idea of the phone conversation between the two presidents came about during consultations among Iran’s representatives to the UN and American officials.

Rouhani received the call from Obama on Friday before departing the John F. Kennedy International Airport for Tehran.

The two presidents stressed Tehran and Washington’s political will to swiftly resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program, and exchanged viewpoints on various topics, including cooperation on different regional issues.

Araqchi further clarified that Tehran has never fully trusted the US and would not do so in the future.

“Negotiations will become more serious if the Americans demonstrate an appropriate response in the future and if such a change in tone and language leads to a change in approach and a change in policies and actions,” he emphasized.

The Friday phone exchange was the first direct communication between an Iranian and a US president since Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979.

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