However, analysts believe that Mr. Ahmadinejad has sent more positive signals to the United States than any other Iranian president despite his harsh rhetoric. He sent a letter to former President Bush, a letter to President Obama, congratulating his elections, and has traveled four times to New York since he took office to take part in the United Nations meetings. “Generally speaking, Iran favors ties with the United States because falling oil prices have hurt its economy dramatically,” said Saeed Leylaz, an economist and political analyst. “ The United States needs to take the first major step otherwise Iran cannot go any farther,” he said. “The major step is for the United States to hold direct talks with Ayatollah Khamenei and no one else,” he added.