More than three decades after the hostage crisis, the presidents of the United States and Iran spoke at the United Nations, apparently eager to repair relations between the two countries.

A meeting between President Barack Obama and President Hasan Rowhani didn’t happen — The Washington Post reports that the White House unofficially blamed the missed connection on Iran’s internal politics — but Secretary of State John Kerry is going to sit down with his Iranian counterpart this week.

Both Obama and Rowhani spoke of the need to negotiate. Obama said he would devote his remaining years in office to the pursuit of diplomacy in the Middle East, including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Rowhani said if the U.S. could “refrain from following the short-sighted interest of warmongering pressure groups, we can arrive at a framework to manage our differences.” That may have been a reference to any number of people or groups, including GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, who said over the weekend that he would seek congressional authority for the U.S. to use force against Iran.

Rowhani was elected in part on a promise to improve relations with the West and do away with the crippling sanctions imposed on his country. For his part, President Obama has a generational opportunity to reopen relations with a country that refers to the United States as “the great Satan.” Let’s hope they don’t blow it.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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