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March 24, 2023

Iran nuclear: Obama and Rouhani speak by phone

US President Barack Obama has spoken by phone to Iran’s Hassan Rouhani – the first such top-level conversation in more than 30 years, the BBC informs. Mr Obama spoke of a “unique opportunity” to make progress with Iran’s new leadership, amid a flurry of diplomacy over its nuclear programme. Earlier, Mr Rouhani said Iran was keen to reach a deal soon. He also asserted that Iran did not seek a nuclear bomb, as Western powers have long suspected. Describing meetings at the UN this week as a “first step”, he said he believed the nuclear issue could be settled “within the not too distant future”. Mr Rouhani said initial discussions had taken place in an environment that was “quite different” from the past.
On his arrival back in Tehran from the UN General Assembly forum in New York, Mr Rouhani was met by a number of key political figures, as well as both supporters and opponents from the public. A New York Times reporter described the scene as chaotic, with dozens of hardliners hurling eggs and shoes at the president’s convoy.
Israel arrests alleged Iranian spy
Israel’s domestic security service says it has arrested a Belgian citizen of Iranian origin, who it claims has admitted he was sent to Israel to spy for Iran, Aljazeera.com reports. The Shin Bet intelligence service said in a statement on Sunday that it arrested Ali Mansouri three weeks ago at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport, carrying photographs of the US embassy in Tel Aviv.

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