Skip to main content

Iran, world powers to huddle at U.N.

By CNN Staff
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Mon September 23, 2013
US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy in New York September 22, 2013.
US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy in New York September 22, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ashton, Iranian diplomat met Monday
  • Iran's nuclear aspirations have been controversial
  • Hassan Rouhani, Iran's president, says: "End unhealthy rivalries"

(CNN) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet with the group known as the P5 plus 1 on Thursday during his visit to the United Nations, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Monday.

The P5 plus 1 includes Germany and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain.

There has been friction between Iran and Western nations over the country's nuclear aspirations and Iran's backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in that country's civil war.

But world powers have been searching for ways to tackle both topics.

After Zarif sat down with Ashton on Monday morning, she spoke to reporters about her first face-to-face meeting with the diplomat.

"As you know I spoke to him several times over the summer but this was the first opportunity for us to meet face to face," Ashton said. "We talked about a number of important issues, but focused on the nuclear issue. We had a good and constructive discussion."

She said there will be a "short discussion" at the meeting this week. Ashton said she and Zarif agreed that they will meet in October "with our teams in Geneva" Switzerland.

Zarif was to meet with British Foreign Minister William Hague at 3 p.m. Monday in a closed-door meeting, a Western diplomat confirmed.

Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, has been making overtures toward the West that some analysts term as a charm offensive and others see as an opportunity for the West and Iran to forge a deal on the country's nuclear weapons.

Tehran says it wants to develop nuclear energy solely for peaceful purposes, but Western nations have long said that Iran is intent on developing nuclear weapons.

The dispute about why Iran is seeking nuclear capability -- for energy or for bombs -- has prompted international sanctions and escalated concerns about additional warfare in the Middle East.

"We must work together to end the unhealthy rivalries and interferences that fuel violence and drive us apart," Rouhani said in an op-ed column last week in the Washington Post.

CNN's Elise Labott and Nick Paton Walsh contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:55 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
updated 8:24 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
About $35,000 was taken from the bank accounts of four passengers on board Flight 370.
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
updated 1:32 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
The execution of a journalist by a British-accented jihadist is a direct challenge to the international community. It's time for the U.S. to move, writes Frida Ghitis.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
updated 5:04 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT