UNITED NATIONS — Iran's new foreign minister will join talks with six key nations trying to rein in the Islamic republic's nuclear program later this week at the United Nations, the European Union's foreign policy chief said Monday.
Catherine Ashton, the chief nuclear negotiator, told reporters after meeting Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that she saw "energy and determination" for talks with the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany to move forward. Foreign ministers of the six nations are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Thursday.
The meeting between the Western powers and Iran will be the first since April, when discussions on how to reduce fears that Tehran might use its nuclear technology for weapons stalled at a meeting in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The election of Iran's new president, Hasan Rouhani, considered a relative moderate in Iran's hard-line clerical regime, has sparked speculation about possible movement on the nuclear issue. Rouhani said last month that the foreign ministry — not the Supreme National Security Council — would lead nuclear talks with world powers, a shift away from security officials being in control.
Ashton said she and her team would meet with Zarif again in October to follow up on Thursday's meeting to continue their discussion on reviving long-stalled negotiations.