TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held high profile talks with foreign ministers representing the six major powers over Tehran’s nuclear program in New York on Thursday, which was described by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as “constructive.”
The talks involved the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, France, Russia, China, the United States - and Germany, known as the P5+1.
“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, according to the U.S. Department of State.
“… we hope very, very much – all of us – that we can get concrete results that will answer the outstanding questions regarding the program. But I think all of us were pleased that the foreign minister came today, that he did put some possibilities on the table. Now it’s up to people to do the hard work of trying to fill out what those possibilities could do,” he told reporters.
The United States wants Iran to address questions about its nuclear program, which Washington and its allies suspect may be a cover for developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, saying its program is for solely peaceful, civilian uses.
“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,” Kerry said.
Zarif also told reporters, “I am satisfied with this first step. Now we have to see whether we can match our positive words with serious deeds so we can move forward,” he said, Reuters reported.
According to Reuters, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who chaired the meeting, told reporters it had been “a substantial meeting. Good atmosphere. Energetic.”
She said the two sides had agreed on an “ambitious timetable” to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program and would meet again in Geneva on October 15-16 “to pursue the agenda to carry on from today’s meeting and to hopefully move this process forward.”
Ashton also added a note of caution, saying it was important to focus on “effective work that we do on the ground.”
British Secretary William Hague described the tone and spirit of the meeting as "extremely good."
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