President Obama is "right to pursue dialogue with Tehran," said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. "We disagree with the adage that familiarity breeds contempt, and would say instead that communication builds confidence. There's already enough contempt."

The U.S. can improve its relations with Iran, said Mohammad Hassan Khani, an international relations professor at a Tehran university, in The Washington Post. But it will take effort on both sides. "For starters, it is essential that U.S. officials change their language and behavior toward Iran," and drop failed phrases such as "all options are on the table" and "regime change."

A few kind words from Obama will do more than coax Tehran's leaders to the table, said Joshua Gross in The Christian Science Monitor. If the new administration talks about Iran in respectful terms -- instead of dismissing it as part of the "axis of evil" -- it will improve America's standing among ordinary Iranians. And that could give new hope to a nation "disillusioned by the failures of their revolution" but "alienated by our previous president's arrogance and pugilism."