FILE - In this April 27, 2015 file photo, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses the 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference, in the United Nations General Assembly. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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U.S. and Iranian officials have been insisting the last several years that they wanted to resolve the nuclear issue before discussing the sectarian wars that are raging across the Middle East.The interest in peace talks was voiced by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, whom I interviewed in New York Wednesday in a 90-minute public forum organized by the New America Foundation. His message, repeated several times, was that Iran wants dialogue with Saudi Arabia and other Arab powers to end the wars ravaging Yemen and Syria.This official said it would be hard for the administration to convince Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab nations to join Iran in a diplomatic process without evidence that Zarif is offering "anything but rhetoric".For the first time in many years, Iran seems be on its back foot in the regional proxy wars.Zarif on Wednesday outlined an Iranian four-point peace plan for Yemen that calls for a cease-fire, humanitarian assistance, dialogue among Yemeni factions, and a new coalition government.
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