US President Barack Obama today said that he has exchanged letters with Iran's new president Hassan Rouhani and hoped that Tehran will take a cue from the raging Syrian crisis that there is scope for resolving Iran's nuclear programme diplomatically. "I have. He has reached out to me. We haven't spoken directly," Obama told the ABC news in an interview, acknowledging that he has exchanged letter with the moderate Iranian leader.
"I think what the Iranians understand is that the nuclear issue is a far larger issue for us than the chemical weapons issue, that the threat against Israel that a nuclear Iran poses, is much closer to our core interests, that a nuclear arms race in the region is something that would be profoundly destabilising," Obama said. "So my suspicion is that the Iranians recognise they shouldn't draw a lesson that we haven't struck to think we won't strike Iran. On the other hand, what is what they should draw from this lesson is that there is the potential of resolving these issues diplomatically," he said in response to a question.
Obama said the Iranian recognise, in part, because of the extraordinary sanctions that they placed on them, that the world community is united when it comes to wanting to prevent a nuclear arms race in the region. "Negotiations with the Iranians is always difficult. I think this new President is not going to suddenly make it easy. But you know, my view is that if you have both a credible threat of force, combined with a rigorous diplomatic effort, that, in fact, you can strike a deal," said the US President.
The election of Rouhani in June has prompted hopes of a more moderate approach by Iran on its controversial nuclear programme, which the West says is weapons-oriented. Iran has denied the allegations, saying its atomic programme is for peaceful purposes.