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Iran Foreign Minister heads to New York for Nuclear Talks

Iran’s foreign minister headed to New York Tuesday to resume nuclear talks with major powers but it was unclear if there would be a repeat visit by President Hassan Rouhani, who launched Tehran’s opening a year ago.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was to hold a working lunch with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the lead negotiator for the six powers, his deputy Abbas Araqchi said.

The two diplomats will set the terms for the relaunch of negotiations for a comprehensive deal on the future scope of Iran’s nuclear programme to allay international concerns about its ambitions, Araqchi told state news agency IRNA.

The talks on Wednesday and Thursday will take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the same venue where in September last year Rouhani held a historic telephone call with President Barack Obama, overcoming more than three decades of estrangement between the two governments.

The honeymoon period after that call saw Tehran strike an interim deal with the six powers that gave it some relief from Western economic sanctions in return for scaling back its more sensitive nuclear activities.

But Iranian officials have sounded a more pessimistic note in recent days about the prospects for hammering out a comprehensive deal by a November 24 deadline.

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