Following a breakthrough 15-minute phone-call between Presidents Rouhani and Obama last Friday, the Iranian President has now asked aviation officials to look into the possibility of restarting direct flights between the United States and Iran. It's a sure-fire signal of improved relations between the countries — the last time a plane made that trip was in 1979.
President Rouhani's request follows a series of positive exchanges last week between the United States and Iran, including a telephone chat between the presidents (which, if you're curious about, was live tweeted by the Iranian leader), and was the first conversation between the nation’s leaders in over 30 years. The talk was so successful that Secretary of State John Kerry said a possible deal over Iran’s nuclear program could be reached in as soon as a few months.
"If it is a peaceful program, and we can all see that, the whole world sees that, the relationship with Iran can change dramatically for the better and it can change fast," Kerry said Sunday.
But the news also comes ahead of a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama Monday — and, according to Netanyahu, the Iranian turnaround is nothing more than a tactic to divert attention from the country's commitment to developing nuclear weaponry.
"I will tell the truth in the face of the sweet talk and the onslaught of smiles," Netanyahu said before getting on his flight to the United States. "Telling the truth today is vital for the security and peace of the world and, of course, it is vital for the security of the state of Israel."
But the United States seems to have generally hopped aboard the diplomatic train to Iran. According to a recent poll asking Americans whether they were in favor of direct negotiations between the U.S. and Iran, a whopping 76 percent yes. And according to Reuters, an inside source has indicated that Obama is likely to resist Israel's push for a finite diplomacy schedule — although the U.S. won't consider lifting its sanctions until it has seen some concrete action from Iran to prove it's serious.
Over a million Iranian-Americans currently live in the U.S., but direct flights to Iran stopped after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.