President Obama said Friday he spoke with new Iran President Hasan Rouhani by phone, the first top-level U.S.-Iranian contact in more than three decades.
Obama said he and Rouhani discussed the standoff over Iran's nuclear program, and agreed to direct their teams to negotiate an agreement in which Iran would forswear the ability to develop nuclear weapons.
"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 said.
The United States has said it will not allow Iran to develop the means to make nuclear weapons; Iran said its nuclear program is designed for peaceful energy programs.
Rouhani confirmed the phone conversations in a series of Twitter message, saying in one that "in regards to nuclear issue, with political will, there is a way to rapidly solve the matter."
In another tweet, Rouhani told Obama: "I express my gratitude for your hospitality and your phone call. Have a good day Mr President."
Iran will be a major topic Monday when Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has raised questions about Iran's sincerity.
The United States broke relations with Iran after Iranian revolutionaries seized American embassy hostages in 1979.