Iranian Diplomat Calls Talks With U.S. ‘First Step’

Also says country's right to enrich uranium is 'non-negotiable'

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday described direct talks between Iran and the United States as a “first step” toward improving long-icy relations between the two countries.

But in an interview on ABC’s This Week, Zarif said actually resolving the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program is the “necessary first step toward removing the tensions and doubts and misgivings that the two sides have had about each other for the last 30 years.”

Following President Barack Obama’s phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Friday, the first between leaders of the two countries in decades, Zarif also called for the removal of sanctions the U.S. currently has in place against Iran, saying that they’re “not a¬†useful tool of implementing public policy” and often keep ordinary Iranians from doing simple things like taking out loans to buy medicine.

Zarif also called Iran’s right to enrich uranium “non-negotiable,” but insisted that the country does not have plans to enrich it to a weaponized level.