The Obama administration is ready to open a dialogue with Iran about the situation in Syria, the top U.S. negotiator for the Iranian nuclear deal said on Friday.
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said she expected the topic would be on the agenda when Secretary of State John Kerry meets on Saturday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the United Nations.
Sherman said such a discussion would “make sense” in the context of current developments in the Syrian conflict. However, she also noted that there is resistance to the idea within Iran, which, along with Russia, is a main supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad. She said the subject of Syria had been raised informally on the sidelines of the nuclear negotiations that ended in July but never in a structured way.
“We’ve always been open to having discussions on the margins as appropriate,” she said. “Not because we coordinate but we certainly know that there are parallel interests. There are great political sensitivities in Iran to having these discussions and probably some limits that are real, but it is important to engage to the extent that we can.”