The era of bullying is over and the era of dialogue has started.”

Those words came this week from the unlikeliest of places: Iran, and its contentious president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

After eight years of Axis of Evil talk from the Bush administration, the change that President Barack Obama promised is in these early days already bearing fruit. This augers well for global stability.

“The Iranian nation will welcome true changes and is ready for dialogue in a climate of equality and mutual respect,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech on Tuesday marking 30 years since the Islamic revolution.

President Obama, derided on his campaign trail for vowing to reach out to foes and attempt to attain compromise, is the antithesis of the previous administration, which plunged the world into profound insecurity.

Ahmadinejad’s startling comments came after Obama reiterated his campaign pledge on Monday, saying he hoped to lay the groundwork to enable both sides to “start sitting across the table, face to face.”

Any measures that can be undertaken to obtain a firm handle on Iran’s disputed nuclear ambitions are urgently welcome, as well as getting Ahmadinejad to tone down his fiery rhetoric against arch foe Israel, which he has sworn to “wipe off the map.”

The past eight years have driven the United States and its allies against countries such as Iran, and heightened the stakes for real stability. Now that that time is over, and commonsense is in control, it is time to talk. The road may be lined with craters, but it’s a road better traveled than to risk further escalation of an already perilous situation.

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