Policy: Environment & Energy

John Kerry to meet Iranian counterpart at UN

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Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif later this week to discuss Tehran's nuclear program, the White House announced on Monday.

Kerry and Zarif's meeting will mark the highest-level of talks between the U.S. and Iran since the 1979 Iranian revolution.

Zarif is slated to meet with Kerry and other ministers from the P5+1 group, which is negotiating a deal over Iran's nuclear energy program.

The meeting comes following the election of new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is viewed as a centrist, and has reached out to the U.S.

President Obama and Rouhani are both slated to address the United Nations General Assembly meeting on Tuesday and the White House has suggested that the two leaders may briefly speak.

Press secretary Jay Carney said last week that Obama was "willing" to have a meeting but said that Tehran must show they were serious about resuming nuclear talks. He added that no meetings were "currently planned."

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes on Monday said the White House is not ruling out a meeting between Obama and Rouhani, although he said nothing is scheduled right now.

“Kerry will be meeting with the P5 partners and the Iranian foreign minister – in an effort to hold Iran accountable while being open to a diplomatic resolution,” Rhodes told reporters traveling to New York with the president.

Iran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes, but the U.S., European Union and UN have instituted sanctions, charging Tehran with secretly developing weapons.

Last week Rouhani said he had received letters from Obama after his election and called for "constructive" dialogue in an op-ed in the Washington Post.

This story was published at 11:58 a.m. and has been updated.

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