United Nations, Sept. 26 (Reuters): Iran and the US held their highest-level substantive talks in a generation today, saying the tone was positive but sounding cautious about resolving the long-running standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme.
US secretary of state John Kerry and Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met after Zarif held wider talks with the US and other major powers to address western suspicions that Iran may be trying to develop atomic weapons.
Diplomats from the major countries described the atmosphere of the wider talks in positive terms, but they, as well as the US and Iranian foreign ministers, stressed the difficulty of resolving a dispute that has eluded solution for a decade.
“We had a very constructive meeting,” Kerry told reporters after the talks at the UN, where he and Zarif had sat next to one another and shook hands, according to a senior US official, in a gesture that suggested a desire by both sides to explore how to ease their more than three-decade estrangement.
But Kerry added: “Needless to say, one meeting and a change in tone, which was welcome, doesn’t answer those questions yet and there is a lot of work to be done.”