Obama And Rouhani At The U.N. — A Diplomatic Opening With Iran?

President Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the U.N. Is there a real diplomatic opening with Iran?

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani speaks during the 68th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. (AP)

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani speaks during the 68th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. (AP)

They didn’t shake hands.  They didn’t break bread.  They didn’t even see each other at the United Nations in New York yesterday.  But President Obama and Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani have a new kind of interaction going on.

No talk of military threat “on the table.”  No talk of wiping Israel off the map.  And a first top-tier US-Iran sit-down on Iran’s nuclear program in years scheduled for tomorrow.

There’s a charm offensive.  A change in tone.  Maybe a way out of nukes, Syria, threat of war.  Is it real?

This hour, On Point:  the US and Iran’s “diplomacy moment.”

- Tom Ashbrook


Julie Pace, White House correspondent for the Associated Press. (@jpacedc)

Mehrzad Boroujerdi, director of the Middle East Studies Program at Syracuse University. President of the International Society for Iranian Studies.

Farideh Farhi, professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has also taught at the University of Tehran.

Patrick Clawson, director of research at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he directs the Iran Security Initiative.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times: Obama Says He Will Pursue Diplomacy on Iran and Syria — “President Obama said on Tuesday that Iran’s diplomatic overture in recent weeks could provide a foundation for an agreement on its nuclear program, but he warned that ‘conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable.'”

Politico: Rouhani declines to meet Obama at United Nations General Assembly — “President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will not meet at the United Nations on Tuesday, senior administration officials said. The White House had offered to have ‘an encounter’ between the two leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, but Iranian officials ultimately declined.”

The Guardian: Rouhani’s visit to UN is unique chance for west and Iran, says Khatami — “In an article published in the Guardian today, Khatami, a former president of Iran, said on the eve of Rouhani’s eagerly anticipated visit to the UN that the moderate cleric had ‘the necessary authority’ for a diplomatic resolution to the longstanding differences between Tehran and the west, not least on the nuclear issue. He warned that failure would strengthen extremists on both sides.”


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