US-Iran talks after more than 30 years 'constructive', says Kerry
The US and Iran held their highest level talks in over 30 years in which Tehran put 'possibilities' on the table to resolve the longstanding dispute over its nuclear programme even as Washington sounded a cautious note.
United Nations: The US and Iran held their highest level talks in over 30 years in which Tehran put "possibilities" on the table to resolve the longstanding dispute over its nuclear programme even as Washington sounded a cautious note.
US Secretary of State John Kerry described the 'P-5+1 Ministerial on Iran' yesterday as a "constructive" meeting that opens possibilities of how the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme can be resolved but cautioned that "one meeting" and "change in tone" does not address all concerns over the programme.
Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif were joined by the foreign ministers of the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany. The countries have agreed to meet again in Geneva next month for the next round of discussions.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that an "ambitious" timeframe of 12 months was being talked about between the leaders "to think about some serious implementation on the ground." Ties between the US and Iran have been estranged since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
"We had a constructive meeting, and I think all of us were pleased that Foreign Minister Zarif came and made a presentation to us, which was very different in tone and very different in the vision that he held out with respect to possibilities of the future," Kerry said after the meeting here yesterday.
He said Iran and the major powers explored the "possibilities of how to proceed based on what President Obama" laid out in his speech to the General Assembly earlier this week.
Following overtures from Iran's President Hassan Rouhani that he has been mandated by his citizens to "pursue a more moderate course", Obama had said in his UNGA address that he would direct Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government hoping that the two sides should be able to achieve a resolution that respects the rights of the Iranian people, and conveys confidence that the Iranian programme is peaceful.
"And so we've agreed to try to continue a process that we\'ll try to make concrete, to find a way to answer the questions that people have about Iran's nuclear programme," Kerry said.
"Needless to say, one meeting and a change in tone, which was welcome, doesn't answer those questions yet, and there's a lot of work to be done," Kerry said.
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