Bittersweet homecoming: Shoe thrown at Rowhani on return to Iran

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As Iranian President Hassan Rowhani returned home on Saturday following his trip to the United Nations last week, some 60 hardline Islamists greeted him with angry chants and a shoe was also hurled in his direction.

An Agence France-Presse correspondent reported seeing the shoe being thrown in the directionof Rowhani’s car, as groups chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" as the president’s motorcade drew out of Tehran's Mehrabad Airport.

“The shoe missed the car and Rowhani stood up through the sunroof to acknowledge the crowds,” AFP reported.

The anger comes after it was announced that Rowhani had a 15-minute telephone conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday, the first contact between leaders of the two countries in more than three decades.

After the phone conversation, President Obama said: “Just now, I spoke on the phone with President Rowhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program.”

Iran confirmed Rowhani had spoken to Obama by phone and said the two expressed their desire to resolve the standoff over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

“The two insisted on political will for quick resolution to the nuclear issue, as well as paving the ground for resolving other issues and cooperation in regional issues,” the Iranian presidency said on its website.

Meanwhile, at the airport on Saturday, the Islamists were reportedly outnumbered by Rowhani supporters.

Some 200 to 300 supporters of the president shouted "Thank you Rowhani," according to AFP.

A small police contingent separated the rival demonstrators.

(With AFP)