Catherine Ashton, the head of EU foreign policy, is scheduled to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of this year’s UN General Assembly in New York.
Ashton’s spokesman said on Friday September 6 that the two sides have agreed to the meeting. Michael Mann reported that Ashton contacted Iran’s foreign ministry after it was announced that the ministry will now be handling Iran’s nuclear negotiations.
Zarif told the Mehr News Agency that Ashton was told during the phone conversation that if there is political will to resolve the issues and so long as Iran’s rights are respected, there is room for progress in the negotiations. He went on to add that the sanctions against Iran are “cruel and illegal” and negotiations will negate all excuses to put the people of Iran under such pressure.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague welcomed news that Ashton and Zarif have agreed to meet, calling it a positive step in the nuclear negotiations.
Hassan Rohani’s election to the presidency has raised hopes that the impasse in nuclear negotiations will be overcome.