US, Iranian Diplomats Talk One-on-One

Lunch meeting could signal Washington's willingness to reach out
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 1, 2009 9:26 AM CDT
Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, 2nd left, sits with members of its delegation at the opening of the Geneva nuclear talks.   (AP Photo/KeystoneDominic Favre)
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(Newser) – The US says senior American and Iranian delegates have met one-on-one on the sidelines of a high-stakes gathering on Tehran's nuclear program. US Under Secretary of State William Burns met with Saeed Jalili, Tehran's chief negotiator during a lunch break today in seven-nation talks in Geneva today. 

It is the first known direct high-level meeting between Washington and Tehran in years of attempts to persuade Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment program. The US' willingness to talk one-on-one with Tehran during breaks also shows Washington's determination to keep the dialogue going. At the same time, the US has signaled it is already contemplating new and tighter sanctions on Tehran, reflecting expectations that the talks will end in failure.