Obama Calls the President of Iran For the First Time in Years

 

On Friday, President Obama spoke on the phone with President Rouhani of Iran, marking the first direct communication between the presidents of America and Iran in more than thirty-four years. And something like that comes with baggage.

 

  1. PRESIDENT OBAMA sits in the Oval Office, staring at his iPhone, which lies unlocked on the table. It displays the contact for HASSAN ROUHANI, President of Iran.
  2. He is listening to Bon Iver.
  3. OBAMA

    Good god, man... Come on, get it together...

  4. President Obama turns over his phone on the desk, shakes his head, and walks across the room.
  5. He sighs, then runs back, picks it up and presses CALL. He closes his eyes, puts his hand on his brow, and breathes heavily.
  6. OBAMA

    (under his breath) Stupid, stupid.

  7. ROUHANI

    (picking up) ...Hello?

  8. OBAMA

    ....Hi. I-... (laughs) It's me....

  9. ROUHANI

    ....Oh. Hey.

  10. OBAMA

    How are you?

  11. ROUHANI

    Uh... Fine. Fine. How are you.

  12. OBAMA

    Good. Pretty good. I just, uh, just got back from the gym actually. I, uh... Yeah, I'm fine. How are... you? Oh, already asked that, whoops.

  13. ROUHANI

    Yeah. You did.

  14. OBAMA

    Ha. Sooo. What have you been up to?

  15. ROUHANI

    Ummm I... I don't know, got kind of a mess on my hands with the country here, just trying to sort of get the lay of the land and figure out what I can-

  16. OBAMA

     Look, I think we should talk diplomatic solutions.

  17. ROUHANI

     Don't.

  18. OBAMA

     No, no, let me finish, it's been a healthy amount of time, and-

  19. ROUHANI

    No. Forget it. I shouldn't have picked up. This is not fair. You can't just change the terms whenever you feel like it.

  20. OBAMA

    Look, I don't like these terms, OK? That wasn't me, that was years ago. Another president, another time.

  21. ROUHANI

     Well, it was good enough to last you all thirty-four years, wasn't it? And, and, and what, I'm just supposed to wait? In case you call?

  22. OBAMA

     No, I mean clearly you've been doing well, I'm not suggesting-

  23. ROUHANI

    Oh, we have? We've been doing well? Because I guess I didn't know that.

  24. OBAMA

    I'm sorry, I don't mean to-

  25. ROUHANI

    But I'm pretty sure you do though, that's the thing. This is how you do things. You just decide, and I guess that's the way it is.

  26. OBAMA

    Look. I don't want to fight with you.

  27. ROUHANI

    And I do?

  28. OBAMA

    I think we can work this through.

  29. ROUHANI

    Jesus Christ.

  30. OBAMA

    Look - there will be important obstacles in moving forward, and success is by no means guaranteed, but I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution.

  31. ROUHANI

     WHY are you TALKING like that?!

  32. OBAMA

     I'm just, I'm flustered, OK?!

  33. ROUHANI

    ...This is about the nuclear thing, isn't it.

  34. OBAMA

    I-... Not entirely, no, I wanted to catch up-

  35. ROUHANI

    Oh my God, see, I KNEW this would happen. I KNEW you would see that, and you would get all riled up and threatened and-

  36. OBAMA

    I am not threatened. I am not threatened at all.

  37. ROUHANI

    And now you want to talk. No, of course you would call me now. Of course you would.

  38. OBAMA

    Listen to me. Please. There has been... something happening between us. Right? For a long time now. Don't deny it. Sure, we haven't talked. Sure, you've been busy, we've been busy. A lot's happened. We are... totally different countries than we once were. But I'd be lying if i said I didn't feel this... incredible, unspeakable tension. With you. All the time.

  39. ROUHANI

    ....(sighs).

  40. OBAMA

    ...Would you disagree?

  41. ROUHANI

    ...Go on.

  42. OBAMA

    I... So yes, I heard about the nuclear thing, and sure, I can admit it, I- uh, it got my attention.

  43. ROUHANI

    Uh huh.

  44. OBAMA

    I just thought we could maybe talk about it.

  45. ROUHANI

    Well now we've talked about it, I guess you got what you wanted, so-

  46. OBAMA

    No. I want this. More of it. Again. And again. All the time.

  47. ROUHANI

    You hurt us, you know. Really bad.

  48. OBAMA

    And you hurt us.

  49. ROUHANI

    But... Ugh... It's nice to hear your voice.

  50. OBAMA

    ...Yours as well. So nice.

  51. ROUHANI

    (under his breath) Goddamn it... (sighs)...
    I... My friends aren't going to like this.

  52. OBAMA

     Oh, believe me, neither will mine.

  53. ROUHANI

     That is... definitely true.

  54. They both laugh.
  55. OBAMA

    Sooo can I... call you tomorrow?

  56. ROUHANI

    Well... tomorrow I have all these meetings about (sighs) domestic human rights violations, but I might have some time in the afternoon if-

  57. OBAMA

    Or later this week. Whenever.

  58. ROUHANI

    I'll text you.

  59. OBAMA

    Great.

  60. ROUHANI

    Well... Bye, I guess.

  61. OBAMA

    Don't you mean "Khodahafez"?

  62. ROUHANI

    ...Wow. Yes. (laughs) Khodahafez.

  63. OBAMA

    (laughs) Bye, Hassan.

  64. ROUHANI

    ...Bye, Barack.

  65. President Obama puts his phone down. He smiles. His phone vibrates. A text.
  66. ROUHANI

    :)

  67. President Obama closes his eyes and smiles, picks up the phone, and kisses it.