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Iran: Rouhani acknowledges Obama’s letter as “positive and constructive” - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iranian president Hassan Rouhani (L) speaks during an interview with Ann Curry (R) from the US television network NBC in Tehran, in this picture taken September 18, 2013, and provided by the Iranian Presidency. (REUTERS/President.ir/Handout via Reuters)

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani (L) speaks during an interview with Ann Curry (R) from the US television network NBC in Tehran, in this picture taken September 18, 2013, and provided by the Iranian Presidency. (REUTERS/President.ir/Handout via Reuters)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—In an interview with NBC News on Wednesday, September 18, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani expressed that, from his point of view, “the tone of the letter” sent to him by US president Barack Obama “was positive and constructive.”

Obama reportedly penned a letter to the Iranian leader congratulating him on his victory in June’s presidential elections.

Rouhani told NBC that he responded with a letter to Obama, thanking him and “express[ing] Iran’s viewpoint on the issues raised in his letter and some other issues.”

This letter marks the first time that American president has written to an Iranian president and not to the supreme leader, which further elevates its significance.

The exchange of letters has been taken as a sign that Iran may be steadily reintegrating in the regional fold.

But in spite of this step, there are still many hurdles to mending the severely damaged relationship between the US and Iran.

The main cause of tension between the US and Iran, the disputed nuclear program, persists.

Earlier, White House spokesman Jay Carney was clear to underline that the letter from the US president “conveyed the need to act with a sense of urgency to address this issue because, as we have long said, the window of opportunity for resolving this diplomatically is open, but it will not remain open indefinitely.”

In his interview with Ann Curry of NBC News, Rouhani expressed that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons and that his government has “sufficient political latitude to solve this problem.”

In the interview, Rouhani reasserted his government’s position that Iran has “never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb, and we are not going to do so.” He added that Iran is solely “looking for peaceful nuclear technology.”

Despite the hope of moderation that the Glasgow-educated leader has sparked, the issue remains highly sensitive and will test his administration’s diplomatic skills.

All eyes will now be observing his appearance at the UN General Assembly in New York in the days ahead, and particularly his first address to the Assembly, which is scheduled for next Tuesday.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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