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Obama and Rouhani talk, then tweet about historic contact

September 27, 2013|By Kathleen Hennessey
  • President Obama speaks with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during a phone call from the Oval Office on Friday.
President Obama speaks with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during a phone… (White House )

WASHINGTON -- President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani followed up their historic, first-ever phone call Friday as any self-respecting politician, teenager or celebrity would: They tweeted about it.

“@HassanRouhani to @BarackObama: We're hopeful about what we will see from P5+1 and your govt in particular in coming weeks and months,” read one of several tweets from an account associated with Rouhani. P5+1 refers to the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany.

The Iranian leader’s frequent use of Twitter has been one of the most public signs of his new outreach to the West, a shift that has in part paved the way for the diplomatic breakthrough between the countries.

That outreach was on display Friday when a tweet from the Iranian’s account about his telephone chat with Obama became public moments before the U.S. leader announced the news on television.

The account then followed with tweets relaying apparent details from the conversation. Obama expressed respect for the Iranian people and hope that a resolution on the nuclear issue would have a positive impact on the war in Syria, and closed with an apology over Rouhani  “experiencing the [horrendous] traffic in New York,” according to @HassanRouhani.

“In regards to #nuclear issue, with political #will, there is a way to rapidly solve the matter,” Rouhani tweeted about the phone conversation. “Thank you, Khodahafez,” Obama said at the end of the call,  according to the account.

A senior administration official said the White House was aware of the tweets and the Iranian president’s recent, notable use of social media. (The account recently got attention for sending a note wishing all Jews a “blessed Rosh Hashana.”)

The official called it a “welcome development,” but also referred to an irony of the Iranian leader's communications strategy: Most Iranians don’t have unfettered access to social media sites. “We’d like to see that Iranians have access to Facebook and Twitter,” the official said.

After the call, both leaders tweeted photos. From the Iranians: A smiling Rouhani walking on his plane bound for Iran. From the White House: An official photo of Obama at his desk in the Oval Office on the phone with Rouhani.

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Twitter @khennessey

kathleen.hennessey@latimes.com

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