Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meet at the UN headquarters in New York on September 19, 2013.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says he has held "constructive" talks with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon regarding the West’s standoff with Iran over its nuclear energy program.
Following a Thursday meeting with Ban at the UN headquarters in New York, Zarif told reporters that the two sides exchanged views on different international issues including the nuclear case.
The Iranian foreign minister added that during his talks with the UN chief, the two sides also discussed the world body’s significant role in the Middle East.
The UN chief, for his part, praised the efforts of the new administration in Iran in engaging with the international community. "I told Minister Zarif that I commend the efforts of the new government in Iran in promoting dialogue with the international community," Ban told reporters. "I'm going to meet President Rouhani next week ... (to) discuss all the matters of regional concern very closely."
Zarif is in New York to take part in the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, which opened on Tuesday. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will also travel to New York on September 22 to take part in the event, where he is scheduled to deliver a speech on September 24.
Earlier in the day, the Iranian minister said he hoped for a negotiated settlement of the nuclear dispute while safeguarding the Islamic Republic’s rights.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with the US and European Union using the claim as an excuse to impose illegal sanctions against Tehran.
Iran has categorically rejected the allegation, stressing that as a committed member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.