President Barack Obama said he spoke by phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Friday, the first such conversation between the nation's leaders since 1979.
"The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran's nuclear program," he said. "While there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution."
Obama and Rouhani have both said they hope to find a diplomatic resolution to Iran's nuclear program.
"Now, we're mindful of all the challenges ahead," he said. "The very fact that this was the first communications between an American and Iranian president since 1979 underscores the deep mistrust between our countries, but it also indicates the prospect of moving beyond that difficult history. I do believe that there is a basis for a resolution. Iran's supreme leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons. President Rouhani has indicated that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons.
Obama said he directed Secretary of State John Kerry to continue negotiations while working with allies across the globe.
"I've made clear that we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy in the context of Iran meeting its obligations," he said. "So the test will be meaningful, transparent and verifiable actions, which can also bring relief from the comprehensive international sanctions that are currently in place."