Trump-Rohani Phone Call May Have Dissipated, but U.S.-Iran Negotiations Aren’t Dead Yet

The story revealed by the New Yorker magazine regarding the failed efforts of French President Emmanuel Macron to arrange a phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rohani is reminiscent of the matchmaking efforts featured in the Israeli hit television series “Shtisel.”

>> Election results are in. Subscribe now – save 30%

Everything appeared to have been arranged. A secure telephone line was installed in a special room at the Millennium Hilton Hotel in New York where the Iranian president was staying. Trump was anxiously waiting at the White House for Rohani to leave his hotel suite and walk a short distance to the phone so that together they would make history. But it didn’t happen.

Rohani didn’t even go to the phone after Macron and his staff gathered at Rohani’s door. Trump was left holding the telephone receiver and Macron probably felt like kicking himself. From all of the accounts, it’s not entirely clear whether there had been an Iranian commitment to have the call, whether Rohani got cold feet at the last moment, whether Macron had made the technical arrangements in the hope that the call would take place, or whether it involved a complete misunderstanding.

>> Trump clearly wants rapprochement with Iran. Israel can’t let that happen | Opinion ■ Iran may exploit Israel's political instability: How Trump must deter Tehran | Opinion   

Trump’s longing for a direct conversation with Rohani has become almost an obsession. Back in August, at the G7 summit in the French town of Biarritz, Trump had tried to impose himself on Macron’s meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Macron tried to include Trump, but Zarif rebuffed the pressure.