David Cameron and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani Had a Phone Chat

Abby Ohlheiser, The Wire
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Abby Ohlheiser, The Wire
Nov. 20, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

Con­tinu­ing the trend of Ir­an get­ting back on speak­ing terms with oth­er coun­tries, Brit­ish Prime Min­is­ter Dav­id Camer­on called Ir­a­ni­an Pres­id­ent Has­san Rouh­ani on Tues­day, the first time a U.K. lead­er has done so in a dec­ade. Ir­an enters an­oth­er round of in­ter­na­tion­al ne­go­ti­ations on its nuc­le­ar pro­gram this week.

Ac­cord­ing to 10 Down­ing Street, the two lead­ers “agreed to con­tin­ue ef­forts to im­prove the re­la­tion­ship on a step by step and re­cip­roc­al basis.”

Here’s their sum­mary of the dis­cus­sion of Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar cap­ab­il­it­ies:

“Both lead­ers agreed that sig­ni­fic­ant pro­gress had been made in the re­cent Geneva ne­go­ti­ations and that it was im­port­ant to seize the op­por­tun­ity presen­ted by the fur­ther round of talks which get un­der­way to­mor­row. The Prime Min­is­ter un­der­lined the ne­ces­sity of Ir­an com­pre­hens­ively ad­dress­ing the con­cerns of the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munity about their nuc­le­ar pro­gram, in­clud­ing the need for great­er trans­par­ency.”

Rouh­ani, as has be­come char­ac­ter­ist­ic for the new lead­er, sum­mar­ized his side of the story on Twit­ter:

@Has­san­Rouh­ani: In a phone con­ver­sa­tion, @Dav­id_Camer­on ex­pressed re­gret over the #ter­ror­ist at­tacks in front of the Ir­a­ni­an em­bassy in #Beirut.

@Has­san­Rouh­ani: Find­ing a polit­ic­al solu­tion to the #Syr­i­an crisis and im­prov­ing bi­lat­er­al ties were oth­er is­sues dis­cussed in phone conv w/ @Dav­id_Camer­on

@Has­san­Rouh­ani: In phone conv w/ @Dav­id_Camer­on, ways to cre­ate pos­it­ive at­mo­sphere to ad­dress con­cerns of both sides on the #nuc­le­ar is­sue was em­phas­ized

Fol­low­ing Rouh­ani’s so-called “charm of­fens­ive” to the West, in­ter­na­tion­al lead­ers have re-entered ne­go­ti­ations with Ir­an over his en­rich­ment of urani­um, which Rouh­ani in­sists is only for peace­ful pur­poses. And while pre­vi­ous rounds of ne­go­ti­ations have left par­ti­cipants cau­tiously op­tim­ist­ic, the ne­go­ti­at­ors have not yet agreed on a short- or long-term deal that would lift sanc­tions against the coun­try. That, it should be noted, is the main reas­on Ir­an is en­ga­ging in the ne­go­ti­ations. On Tues­day, Pres­id­ent Obama met with mem­bers of Con­gress from both parties to talk about an in­ter­im deal the P-5+1 ne­go­ti­at­ing body would like to pur­sue. That agree­ment could, among oth­er things, be com­plic­ated by a de­sire among some mem­bers of Con­gress to im­pose new sanc­tions on the coun­try.

Re­prin­ted with per­mis­sion from The Wire. The ori­gin­al story can be found here.

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