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Small gestures with big meanings: Historic presidential handshakes

Will they or won't they? Pundits weighed in on whether or not President Obama and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, would shake hands at a United Nations luncheon on Tuesday. While Rouhani did not attend the luncheon, the gesture would have been historic for two countries whose leaders have not met in three decades.  Take a look here at past presidential handshakes weighted with symbolism.

Obama and Gadhafi, 2009

Obama and Chavez, 2009

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez shakes hands with President Barack Obama as he presents his with a book,Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images

Reagan and Gorbachev, 1985

President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev shake hands in Nov. 1985 at the Geneva Summit. It was the first face-to-face meeting between leaders of the two countries in six years.AP

Carter, Sadat and Begin, 1979

Carter and the shah of Iran, 1977

Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlovi, the embattled shah of Iran, shakes hands with President Jimmy Carter on Dec. 31, 1977, in Tehran. The shah was overthrown by the Iranian Revolution in Feb. 1979.Bettmann/CORBIS

Kennedy and Khruschev, 1961

Nixon and Mao, 1972

Chinese communist party leader Mao Zedong, left, and U.S. President Richard Nixon shake hands as they meet on Feb. 21, 1972. Nixon's visit was the first time an American president had visited the People's Republic of China.AP

Vice President Nixon and Castro, 1959

Truman, Churchill and Stalin, 1945

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