In a diplomatic breakthrough, the foreign ministers of arch rivals, the United States and Iran, will hold their first talks on Teheran's contested nuclear drive at a landmark meeting on Thursday, AFP informs. Secretary of State John Kerry and new Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will join counterparts from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia at the meeting at United Nations headquarters, US officials said on Monday. High-level contacts between Iranian and US officials have been rare since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. But in another sign of a possible thaw, the White House said it was not ruling out a meeting between President Barack Obama and new Iranian counterpart Hassan Rohani on the sidelines of this week's UN General Assembly. The encounter between Mr. Zarif and Mr. Kerry comes as Iran calls for the easing of crippling international sanctions over its uranium enrichment. Rowhani said in a US television interview last week that Iran would "never" build a nuclear bomb. But the United States and its allies still believe Tehran wants that capability and are waiting for signs that Rowhani is serious about better relations. The talks "will give our ministers a sense of their level of seriousness and whether they are coming with concrete new proposals and whether this charm offensive actually has substance to it," a senior US State Department official said.

QHA