It is a moment many have been impatiently waiting for, the breaking of more than thirty years of ice between Iran and the United States. The meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif is the highest-level public contact in a generation. It had the former saying it was “constructive”, and it appears much was crammed into just half-an-hour face to face.
“I’m satisfied with this first step. Now we have to see whether we can match our positive words with serious deeds so that we can move forward,” said Zarif.
“I think all of us were pleased that Foreign Minister Zarif came and made a presentation to us which was very different in tone. Needless to say, one meeting and a change in tone, which was welcomed, doesn’t answer those questions yet and there is a lot of work to be done,” said an equally cautious John Kerry.
Those questions, for America, revolve around Iran’s nuclear programme. For the Iranians sanctions are top of the list; for example oil revenues are now 100 million dollars a day. Two years ago they could count on 250 million.
Still, the Kerry meeting raises the possibility that President Rohani may be close to meeting Barack Obama, or we may soon be speaking of a “Tehran spring”.