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U.S, Iran letters are a good starting point

The United States and Iran’s leaders have opened the door just slightly to talking, an initial step after 34 years of no diplomatic ties.

This week word came that President Obama and Iran’s President Hassan Rowhani have been exchanging letters for discussion.

Rowhani, a comparative moderate, was elected in June and he may take a new course with the United States than the previous leaders of the past three decades.

The world will be watching Tuesday when Obama and Rowhani are scheduled to address the United Nations assembly. A mere handshake between these two leaders would cause political waves around the world.

If Obama and Rowhani could begin bilateral negotiations between our two nations, it would be the first since the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979.

The past five American presidents - Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama and their administrations have not had significant direct dialogue with Iran for more than 30 years.

Obama should not abandon economic sanctions until Iran abandons the enrichment of uranium. And any possible agreement with Iran should include some of Reagan’s “trust but verify” adage.

America should engage Iranian moderates in dialogue whenever possible because this may be the moderate leaders' opportunity to bring about change in their country.

The lesson of Afghanistan and Iran is that America’s military interventions are not always a workable solution, especially in the Middle East.