Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, later this afternoon at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. Matt Lee of Associated Press reports on Twitter:
Zarif is New York City for the United Nations General Assembly. He told NPR last week that he was optimistic he'd be able to get a nuclear deal with America:
STEVE INSKEEP: Let me begin with the nuclear negotiations. Obviously there are many tactical details to work out, but I'd like to get your sense of the attitude. Do you believe, after all the years that you've worked on this issue, that you've arrived in a moment when both countries — the United States and Iran — are ready to make a deal?
MOHAMMED JAVAD ZARIF: Well, I thought everybody was ready to make a deal. And the primary reason that I thought that was the case was that we had all tried all the wrong options. And as Churchill said after having trying all the wrong options, I'd hoped that we would use the right option. And I still believe that's a possibility. The only problem is how this could be presented to some domestic constituencies — primarily in the United States, but even in places in Europe — that could please them, or some may say could appease them because some of them are not interested in any deal.
You're talking about people in the United States who feel that a deal with Iran is a bad idea.
Yeah. So if they think any deal with Iran is a bad idea, there's no amount of — I don't want to call it concession — no amount of assurance that is inherent in any deal that could satisfy them, because they're not interested in a deal, period. And they'll try to use excuses to kill a deal. But I think if you compare any deal with a no deal, it's clear that a deal is much preferable. We have had almost 10 years of trying to help one another in the nuclear area, and the net result has been nothing to be proud of. If the United States believes that sanctions have been so effective, then it should answer the question, those who are pushing for continued sanctions and more sanctions, to see what these sanctions have achieved. Have they achieved any of the policy goals that they intended to achieve? That is — the two policy goals that they wanted to achieve were, the obvious one, the stated one, was to push Iran into abandoning its nuclear program. It was never a nuclear weapons program. It was a peaceful program and Iran did not abandon it. If at the time of the imposition of sanctions, we had less than a couple of hundred centrifuges, now we have about 20,000. So that's the net outcome. If the hidden intention of these sanctions was to create a wedge between the government and the populous, than that proved to be erroneous, too, because last year in the presidential elections 73 percent of the population participated in the presidential election, putting their trust in the government.