U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his new Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif met one-on-one on Thursday in one of the highest level contacts between the two rivals since the 1979 Islamic Revolution .
Following the meeting, Kerry was said he was pleased with the new positive tone from Iran on talks over its nuclear program.“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 told reporters.
Zarif said he stressed during the meeting the need to continue such discussions and that sanctions are counter-productive and have to be removed “as we move forward.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also made a statement after the talks, saying Iran was committed to negotiate on its nuclear program in “good faith.”
“We are fully prepared to seriously engage in the process toward a negotiated and mutually agreeable settlement and do so in good faith and with a business-like mind,” Rowhani told a think tank forum in New York, AFP reported .
He addressed the Asia Society and Council on Foreign Relations soon after his foreign minister held talks with major powers at the United Nations in the highest-level contact ever between the United States and Iran over its nuclear program.
“We hope that this positive step that has been taken as a first solid and strong step will help us continue talks,” Rouhani said.
Asked about his recent remarks to The Washington Post that he wanted a deal within months, Rouhani said: “The sooner the better.”
“We think that a speedy settlement will support both sides,” he said.