Describing his phone conversation with President Obama as “historic,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took to Twitter on Friday with a series of a fascinating messages that stunned and encouraged many foreign policy observers.
“In phone convo, President
# Rouhani and President @ BarackObama expressed their mutual political # will to rapidly solve the # nuclear issue,” Rouhani wrote to his 64,000 plus followers.
In another tweet, Rouhani noted that he ended his conversation with Obama by saying, “Have a Nice Day!” and that the Obama responded by saying, “Thank you. Khodahafez.”
The phrase is a common way of saying goodbye in the Persian language and is literally translated as, “"May God be your Guardian.”
For its part, the White House used Twitter to publish an official photo of President Obama during his phone conversation with Rouhani. The caption to the photo reads, "Historic phone call in the Oval Office: Pres Obama talks w Iran Pres Hassan Rouhani this afternoon."
The tweets represent a pair of interesting historical marks for the two countries. First, is the more obvious significance being paid to the phone conversation itself – the first between a U.S. and Iranian president in more than 30 years.
However, it’s also noteworthy that Rouhani is on Twitter at all. Iranians had previously been banned from using the site but in September the bans on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites were lifted without formal notice. For his part, Rouhani has shown himself to be prolific at composing his own messages and re-tweeting the messages of others.
For example, he re-tweeted a message from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo who wrote, “I feel like i'm witnessing a tectonic shift in the geo-political landscape reading
@ HassanRouhani tweets. Fascinating.”
Rouhani has also been using the account to verify media reports on the progression of relations between the U.S. and Iran. For example, he re-tweeted a report that the two countries would appoint foreign ministers to arrange follow-up talks between officials after the conversation with Obama.
His Twitter account also arguably provides potential insights into Rouhani's online allegiances. For example, he only follow four accounts on Twitter, including Iran's Foreign Minister Javid Zarif and former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a fellow moderate.
The excitement over Rouhani’s tweets has even led to a few false reports, including one news outlet that erroneously reported that the Iranian leader was using his account to lobby for a personal meeting with Obama during the recent U.N. summit in New York.