Obama: Agreement possible over Iran’s nuclear ambitions

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By CNN Staff

(CNN) — [Breaking news update, 3:54 p.m. ET]

U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday he spoke by phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the first communication between U.S. and Iranian leaders since 1979.

He told reporters he believes a comprehensive agreement is possible regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions, saying, “the test will be meaningful, transparent and verifiable action” and would also ease international sanctions in place against Iran.

[Original story published, 12:21 p.m. ET]

Iran’s president: Europe, U.S sound ‘different compared to the past’

Western leaders have said Iran seems to sound different under the leadership of newly elected President Hassan Rouhani. On Friday, it was Rouhani’s turn to return the compliment, saying European Union officials and U.S. President Barack Obama sound “different compared to the past.”

“I view that as a positive step in the settlement of differences between Iran and the West,” he told reporters Friday.

Western leaders have expressed cautious optimism about Iran’s more moderate tone under Rouhani. Among other things, recent comments by Rouhani have given some hope that a deal could be struck over the Middle Eastern nation’s nuclear program.

On Friday, he said his election helped pave the way for better relations between the Iran and the West, which has imposed heavy sanctions on the country. He also said Iran wants quick resolution to the nuclear issue. Western leaders believe the country’s nuclear program is designed to produce weapons. Iranian leaders have said it is purely peaceful.

“I assure you that on the Iranian side, this will is there fully, 100%, that within a very short period of time, there will be a settlement on the nuclear issue,” he told reporters.

Rouhani said he was heartened by Thursday’s meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as part of a meeting between Iran and the six countries trying to tackle international concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

It was the first face-to-face meeting between such high-level officials of the two countries in more than 30 years.

Rouhani had a chance to at least shake hands with Obama while at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. But he told reporters Friday that there wasn’t enough time to plan such a meeting.

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