U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made history Thursday, holding one-on-one nuclear talks talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
Their meeting in New York was the highest level talks between U.S. and Iranian officials since the Islamic revolution of 1979, when American hostages were seized and diplomatic ties came to a standstill.
Kerry said he was pleased to see Zarif come to New York to meet with major world powers, saying Zarif put some "possibilities" on the table.
But he later told CBS television that the United States will not lift sanctions until Iran has a verifiable and transparent nuclear inspection process in place.
Zarif called his talks very constructive and said he hopes progress can be made.
Before his separate meeting with Kerry, Zarif met with foreign ministers from the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany on Iran's nuclear program.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the tone and spirit of the talks were extremely good and were a big improvement over the recent past.
All sides plan to meet again next month in Geneva.
Iran is under international sanctions over suspicions it is trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful civilian purposes and says it has a right to carry out such a program.
Iran's new centrist President Hassan Rouhani says he wants a deal on his country's nuclear program in three to six months, saying the "only way forward" is for a timeline to be inserted into the talks.
During a U.N. disarmament meeting, Mr. Rouhani said no nations should possess nuclear weapons. He says there are no "right hands for these wrong weapons."
He says nuclear disarmament is Iran's highest priority and called on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty and put its widely suspected nuclear arms under international control.