President Barack Obama's phone call last week with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ended a three-decade freeze between the two countries. Experts say the conversation could lead to negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program.
Three experts on U.S.-Iran relations join The Daily Circuit to give their perspective:
Jamal Abdi, policy director at National Iranian American Council:
Obama and Rouahni's phone call was so historic because it was the first step in breaking from the false choices presented by hardliners on either side of the standoff. And the American people support this diplomatic initiative, not war. If they make their voices heard, this momentum will continue. We already saw how popular pressure helped change the U.S. government's calculations on Syria and averted a war by demanding a diplomatic path. Now, on Iran, Obama must hear the same type of support for diplomacy.
Reuel Marc Gerecht, senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies:
The odds are poor that the election of Hassan Rowhani to the presidency will change Iranian society or diminish the power of the supreme leader Ali Khamenei and his praetorians, the Revolutionary Guards, who now effectively control the Iranian economy and oversee the regime's nuclear program and its terrorist and covert-action operations overseas. Rowhani, who has since the revolution been in the shadow of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former uber-corrupt major-domo of the ruling clergy, is a well-known commodity.
Barbara Slavin, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and Washington correspondent for Al-Monitor:
Beyond the soothing rhetoric and the careful choreography, there does appear to be a new receptivity to agreement in both the U.S. and Iranian administrations. U.S. officials believe that Rouhani has a real mandate to reach an accord in part because U.S.-led sanctions have had such a draconian effect on the Iranian economy. And Obama is in need of a second term foreign policy legacy.