Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the fringes of the UN General Assembly on Thursday (25 September). They spoke about the situation in the Middle East and Iran’s nuclear programme.
The Iranian President had given his speech to the UN General Assembly that morning. In the early evening, he met Foreign Minister Steinmeier only a few metres away in the UN Plaza Hotel. Their conversation focused on the situation in the Middle East and Iran’s nuclear programme.
After the meeting, the German foreign minister declared that he had enjoyed a “good, intensive discussion” with Rouhani. Steinmeier reported having welcomed Iran’s stance in opposition to Islamist and terrorist groups and its support for the establishment of a new government in Iraq.
On the subject of Iran’s nuclear programme, Steinmeier expressed cautious optimism. A solution to the nuclear issue was closer now than at any point in the last ten years, he said. Nonetheless, he continued, numerous obstacles still remained: “What still lies before us now, the final stretch, is possibly the toughest part of the journey.”
As Steinmeier put it, the international community and the chief negotiators of the E3+3 group had presented Iran with a large number of offers and proposals – and now the time had come to put a long‑awaited end to the conflict:
I hope that Iran knows and senses that, not least in view of the changes in the global situation, we are not at liberty to let the negotiations fail.
It was possible, the foreign minister suggested, that the UN General Assembly and the many conversations held on the margins might help “provide the push needed to complete the final stretch of the journey”.