With the eyes of the world upon them, the United States and Iran will Thursday have one of their highest-level meetings since the 1979 revolution as their foreign ministers join talks on Tehran’s suspect nuclear program.
And while officials are saying that no bilateral talks are planned between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, there remains the chance for a quick tete-a-tete in the corridor.
Zarif will be the first Iranian foreign minister to sit down with his counterparts from the five permanent members of the UN Security — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany to discuss Iran’s nuclear program.
The Iranian delegation will only join part of the talks being hosted by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton however, and no-one is keen to raise hopes of a breakthrough in the dragging negotiations.
Indeed the encounter with European, Russian and Chinese foreign ministers is set to be brief.
It comes after speculation that Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani would meet or at least shake hands with President Barack Obama at the United Nations fizzled out.
But diplomats say Thursday’s meeting will give them the first chance to take the measure of the new Iranian leadership which took office in August.