Zarif: Kerry Meeting Shows Willingness to 'Speed Up' Nuclear Talks
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says his meeting Wednesday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shows that Iran and a group of world powers are ready to "speed up" their negotiations on Iran's nuclear program.
Just before the meeting in Geneva began, Zarif called the talks with Kerry "important," and that "all issues are easy if we resolve them."
Kerry did not comment before the meeting. He said earlier this week his discussions with Zarif would be a chance for the diplomats to assess where the two sides stand.
Lower-level negotiations are due to resume on Thursday.
It has been two months since the two sides decided to extend the negotiations after failing to agree by their self-imposed November deadline.
Now, about six weeks remain before their goal of having a framework in place for a deal that would address concerns about possible military applications of the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions that have hurt the country's economy.
The deadline for a final agreement is July 1.
Kerry Expresses Support for UN, Russian Syria Peace Efforts
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed support for U.N. efforts to halt the fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo, as well as for Russia's bid to restart peace talks for the war-torn nation.
Kerry spoke Wednesday alongside the U.N. envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura after the two met in Geneva.
The secretary said de Mistura's plan to freeze fighting in Aleppo through a series of locally negotiated truces to allow in humanitarian aid is part of a "very complicated but very important effort" to make progress in Syria.
De Mistura is due to return to Damascus next week. He met in November with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who called the proposal something "worth studying."
The U.N. envoy said Wednesday that Aleppo is an "iconic example" of how the violence could end and bring hope to Syrians who are tired of nearly four years of conflict.