Iran, U.S. ministers to hold nuke talks

AFP-JIJI

In a diplomatic breakthrough, the foreign ministers of archrivals the United States and Iran will hold their first talks on Tehran’s contested nuclear drive at a landmark meeting Thursday.

Secretary of State John Kerry and new Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will join counterparts from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia at the meeting at United Nations headquarters, U.S. officials said Monday.

High-level talks between Iranian and U.S. officials have been rare since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. But in another sign of a possible thaw, the White House said it is not ruling out a meeting between President Barack Obama and his new Iranian counterpart, Hasan Rouhani, on the sidelines of this week’s U.N. General Assembly.

Rouhani said in a U.S. television interview last week that Iran will “never” build a nuclear bomb. But the United States and its allies still believe Tehran wants that capability and are waiting for signs that Rouhani is serious about better relations.