Hassan Rouhani suggests resuming direct flights between Iran and US

Iranian president asks authorities to look at restarting flights after more than three decades as part of thaw in relations

Iran’s president is asking aviation authorities to study the possibility of resuming direct flights between Iran and the United States for the first time in more than three decades.

Hassan Rouhani’s request reflects Iranian efforts to build on groundbreaking exchanges with Washington, which have included a telephone chat last week between the new Iranian president and the US president, Barack Obama.

Iran’s immediate goal is to resume talks over its nuclear programme to seek the easing of western sanctions, but Tehran also appears willing to explore expanded contacts.

The semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Akbar Torkan, a senior government official, as saying on Monday that Rouhani wanted to study the option of direct flights.

More than 1 million Iranian-Americans live in California and elsewhere. Direct flights were halted after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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