Kerry says sees chance for Syria progress as meets Iran’s Zarif

In recent weeks, Iranian officials have raised the prospect of a prisoner exchange involving the three Americans in Iran and 19 Iranians who Tehran says are being held in US prisons, largely on convictions for sanctions violations.

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“We have a lot of issues to talk about”, Kerry said Saturday before his meeting with Javad Zarif in New York during the annual United Nations General Assembly opening.

US Secretary of State John Kerry will try to launch a new initiative for a political solution in Syria during meetings in New York. He also said Iran was willing to discuss regional issues, including the deadly stampede at the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, in the appropriate forum.

The phone call marks a move away from Washington’s previous objections to Russian Federation increasing its military presence in Syria and could signal the beginning of world power consensus on how to combat ISIL and other extremist groups, as well as stabilize the Middle East.

Iran is one of the main supporters of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses the media after a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (unseen) at German foreign ministrys guesthouse Villa Borsig at lake Tegel in Berlin, Germany, September 20, 2015.

Echoing Merkel, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told Le Monde newspaper that “Assad must go, he can’t be part of Syria’s future”.

A breakthrough in talks over Syria would offer a chance of ending a war that has killed at least 250,000 people and turned Syria into a lawless stomping ground for terrorists.

“We need to achieve peace and a way forward in Syria, in Yemen, in the region itself and I think there are opportunities this week, through these discussions, to make some progress”.

In sharp contrast to Rouhani’s remarks, Khamenei, the supreme leader who wields ultimate political and religious authority in Iran, has vowed that the nuclear agreement would not change Iran’s policies toward the United States or facilitate negotiations on other matters.

The Syrian opposition claims that Iranian military forces are fighting against them, while Iran dismisses the claims, saying that Iran only has advisors in Syria, to transfer its military experience to the Syrian army.

The United States has been adamant that Assad must be removed from office, however Kerry has said that Assad must step down, but not necessarily immediately upon reaching a settlement to end the country’s civil war.

The White House announced that President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in New York on Monday to discuss the conflict. “The American/Turkish/Saudi position is Bashar al-Assad is the biggest problem”.

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Mr Kerry told reporters there would be discussions in the week ahead that could prove critical to resolving the conflicts. Those critics are “living on another planet”, and their comments were “very comedic, very odd,” he said, adding that some of them could not find Iran on a map.

Syria talks to intensify at UN