Obama-Zarif Encounter

Obama-Zarif EncounterObama-Zarif Encounter

An informed source close to the Iranian delegation said the brief encounter between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US President Barack Obama on Monday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York was not planned.

“Reports about a pre-planned meeting have no basis in fact,” the source said.  

According to IRNA, after the end of President Hassan Rouhani’s speech to the UNGA and as Zarif was leaving the hall, the foreign minister “accidently” met Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry and they shook hands and exchanged courtesies.

Any encounter between Iranian and US officials is closely watched since the old foes managed to conclude a landmark international nuclear agreement in July to observe any sign indicating the two sides are ready to address other disputes and cooperate on Middle East issues.

Rouhani told a group of senior US media editors on Sept. 25 that although Iran-US ties had improved, there was “still a long road to travel” before the two estranged nations could resume anything resembling normal relations.