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Breaking: Iran, US Hold Direct Talks in Geneva

By Al-Monitor

October 15, 2013 "Information Clearing House - "Al-Monitor" -  Geneva - The U.S. and Iranian nuclear negotiating teams met for one on one talks for one hour this evening, Iranian and American officials confirmed to Al-Monitor, in an exchange American officials described as “useful.”

“As had been expected, Under Secretary [Wendy] Sherman and members of the US delegation held a bilateral meeting with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Araqchi and members of the Iranian delegation tonight, as the Iranians are doing with a number of delegations during these talks,” a senior State Department official said.

“The meeting took place at the UN Palais des Nations and lasted for approximately one hour,” the U.S. official said. “The discussion was useful, and we look forward to continuing our discussions in tomorrow’s meetings with the full P5+1 and Iran.”

Iran’s deputy foreign minister for European and American Affairs, Majid Takht Ravanchi, speaking briefly to Al-Monitor, described the bilateral meeting with the Americans as ‘no big deal,’ and ‘useful.’ Ravanchi, who said he was educated in Lawrence, Kansas before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and speaking as he returned from the talks venue to Geneva’s Intercontinental hotel, told Al-Monitor that after the meeting with the Americans, the Iranians held a bilateral meeting with the Russians.

Iran’s Fars News first reported the two teams were set to meet shortly. An Iranian official, asked about the report, confirmed it, saying the Iran side was led by its deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi.

US Secretary of State John Kerry met for thirty minutes with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York last month. Noting the meeting, and the historic phone call between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and President Obama, a senior U.S. Administration official told journalists Monday that “rubicon” had been crossed.

“This is a direct consequence of Rouhani and Obama breaking the taboo,” Ali Vaez, senior Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group, said of the US-Iranian meeting here Tuesday.

The senior State Department official agreed the meeting built on those previous exchanges and said it “demonstrates our continued commitment to bilateral engagement within the context of the P5+1.”

Western officials praised Iran’s presentation of a nuclear proposal to six world powers Tuesday as ‘very useful’ and very detailed.

Talks are due to continue here on Wednesday.

See also -

Iran nuclear talks in Geneva to continue into second day: Iran gives hour-long presentation on proposals to end deadlock, and detailed technical discussions take place in afternoon

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