TEHRAN – The spokesperson for the US State Department rejected any direct talks between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, but revealed that Washington has specific “diplomatic channels” to communicate with Tehran.
Speaking to reporters at a press briefing on Thursday, Heather Nauert said she does not believe that Tillerson has spoken with Zarif since he took office.
“We certainly have various diplomatic channels, lines of communication that can be used to communicate with the Iranian Government,” she noted.
“My understanding is that we have not, but I’m not going to get into any comments or questions about private diplomatic conversations,” the spokeswoman added.
Zarif arrived in New York early Friday morning to attend the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and to meet counterparts on the sideline of the forum.
In the trip, Zarif is accompanied by two of his deputies, Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi had said before that no meeting is planned between Zarif and Tillerson, unlike the last couple of years when Zarif was in regular contact with the former top US diplomat, John Kerry, on the 2015 nuclear deal.
Zarif is also scheduled to attend a meeting of the US Council on Foreign Relations next Monday to discuss current developments in the Middle East with the think tank’s president, Richard Haass.