Towards a common language
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks over the weekend that he will leave it up to the Palestinians whether they negotiate a peace deal with Israel had generated much comment across the Middle East. The Iranian president told the US ABC network: "We are not going to determine anything. Whatever decision [the Palestinians] take, we will support that."
Some American media have interpreted this as de facto Iranian acceptance of a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Given some of Mr Ahmadinejad's previous rhetoric that would indeed mark a policy shift of considerable importance.
Equally, there have been those who have been quick to rubbish the story. Since the Iranians back Hamas as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people, it's hard to see that radical movement and a right-wing Israeli government agreeing anything in a hurry. Iran, the argument goes, does not expect its acceptance of any two state deal to be tested.
The timing of this statement though is most interesting. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, is due to see President Obama on 28 May. Other White House meetings, with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president are also expected around the same time.
This will not be a full scale Middle East summit in the sense of face to face peace talks. But it is clear that President Obama wants to push forward his ideas for restoring some hope - to the Palestinians in particular.
It's best then to see President Ahmadinejad's remarks not as evidence of some fundamental re-think in Tehran. He would have to go further and be more explicit for that to be the case. His interview was however a sign, faced with President Obama's charm offensive, that Iranian leaders realise they must deploy new language.
Setting one's face too obviously against an attempt to forge a new peace process is something that even the Iranian firebrand does not wish to do. In that sense his remarks do mark a small but interesting diplomatic shift.