THE FIRST signals of something different coming from Iran was when the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted the picture above, wishing Jews “a blessed Rosh Hashanah.” It was the tweet heard and retweeted around the world.
[…] “It can be guessed that the Sultan of Oman’s trip to Iran can mean that afterward this country, instead of playing the role of mediator in relation to Iran and America, wants to play the role of host for these two countries with regard to negotiations,” Qassem Mohebali, an Iranian analyst on the Middle East, wrote in the reformist Bahar newspaper last month.
“The channel that was most likely used was that of the Omani Sultan, who visited Iran a few weeks ago,” said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council. “The Omanis have been used in the past, as have the Turks, Japanese and others.”
The letters exchanged between President Obama and Rouhani have prompted speculation that the two leaders could move towards direct contact. The last time a U.S. president met an Iranian leader was in December 1977, when then president Jimmy Carter met with Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Obama is willing. All he needs is the opening from Iran for engagement to begin, with Rouhani signaling he might be the leader to welcome it.