WASHINGTON (AP) — The presidents of America and Iran may meet briefly next week for the first time in what would be a symbolic but significant step toward easing their countries' tense relationship.

An exchange of letters between the leaders already has raised expectations for a thaw in relations, and any progress in dismantling Syria's chemical weapons stockpile could signal whether their elusive diplomacy will last longer than a handshake.

At the heart of the U.S.-Iran impasse is a years-long dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

In small steps and encouraging statements, Iran's leaders appear to be opening wider the door to detente.
Washington is cautiously weighing whether recent overtures from the president of Iran actually represent new policies or just new packaging.

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