By Julian Pecquet - 11/19/13 05:44 PM EST
British Prime Minister David Cameron called Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Tuesday on the eve of nuclear talks, becoming the first British leader to do so in more than a decade.
Cameron's call follows President Obama's historic call to Rouhani in September, which helped get the ball rolling on the latest effort to contain Iran's nuclear program. The call is the latest sign that international negotiators expect to be able to strike a preliminary deal with Iran in the coming days.
“On Iran’s nuclear program, both leaders agreed that significant progress had been made in the recent Geneva negotiations and that it was important to seize the opportunity presented by the further round of talks which get underway tomorrow,” a Downing Street spokesperson said. “The Prime Minister underlined the necessity of Iran comprehensively addressing the concerns of the international community about their nuclear program, including the need for greater transparency.”
Great Britain is one of five countries negotiating alongside the United States with Iran. Secretary of State John Kerry has said the parties are “extremely close” to a deal and President Obama hosted senators at the White House on Tuesday to urge them to delay new sanctions that he said could derail talks.
Cameron and Rouhani went on to welcome their countries' improving relationship since Rouhani took office, including the appointment of non-resident Charges d’Affaires last week. Cameron is the first British leader to call an Iranian counterpart since Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke with President Mohammad Khatami in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to discuss cooperation in the confronting terrorism.
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