UNITED NATIONS — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet Thursday with Secretary of State
The two will come together at the
U.S. and Iranian officials have been hinting for weeks that senior officials might meet at this week’s
Ashton's announcement marked the first concrete step toward intensified contacts.
Ashton did not suggest that the meeting would provide for an in-depth exploration of the nuclear issues, but said it would allow for a "short discussion." She also disclosed that she and other EU officials would meet, on behalf of the P5 Plus One, with Zarif and other Iranian officials in Geneva in October.
Western diplomats have been predicting for months that there would be a P5 Plus One meeting this fall to probe whether Rouhani, a relative moderate, might be more open to compromise than his predecessor,
If Obama and Rouhani do meet, they would probably do so Tuesday at the United Nations. The two top leaders could meet briefly to signal their desire for face-to-face talks, and deputize lower level officials to begin planning the meetings.
Jen Psaki, a
The six powers have indicated in recent weeks that they didn't intend to present Iran a new offer, but wanted to hear Iran's response to the plan that group put down last spring in Kazakhstan.
[For the Record, 11:10 a.m. Sept. 23: A previous version of this post said Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, also disclosed that there would be meeting of the P5 Plus One in October in Geneva. Ashton said at that meeting that she and other EU officials will meet, on behalf of the P5 Plus One, with Zarif and other Iranian officials.]