Is there any scenario in which a U.S. embassy could reopen in Tehran in the final two years of President Obama's term in office? That was a question NPR's Steve Inskeep put to Mr. Obama in an interview taped last week. The president responded, "I never say never, but I think these things have to go in steps."
During the interview, Mr. Obama considered Tehran in relation to Washington, pointing out its "track record of state-sponsored terrorism," its attempts to develop a nuclear weapon--"or at least [its] component parts," and the fact that its attitude toward Israel "has been incendiary."
But if, over time, Iran can prove it's "actually not interested in developing a nuclear weapon," so that over time sanctions can be lifted, and its economy begins to grow, that, the President said, might be the basis for improving relations with the U.S. over time. He told Inskeep he believes there are some in Iran who want to resolve the nuclear issue, but there are still hardliners in Iran who remain invested in being "anti-American or anti-Western."