0147 GMT February 20, 2020
Iran expects the EU to play a more active role in the talks between Tehran and the P5+1 so that the negotiations would bear fruit, Zarif said while receiving the credentials of Italy's new ambassador to Iran, Mauro Conciatori, on Monday.
Zarif also described Iran-Italy ties as deep-rooted and called for further expansion of ties in all areas.
He further hoped that Italy, which currently holds the EU rotating presidency, would play a more active and positive role in the development of Iran-EU ties.
The Italian envoy, for his part, welcomed the promotion of ties between Rome and Tehran.
Zarif left Tehran early Tuesday for New York to take part in the fresh round of negotiations over Tehran's nuclear energy program.
A working lunch is expected on Wednesday between Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is leading the team from the six world powers in talks with Tehran.
Bilateral meetings are also planned between Iran and the members of the P5+1 group of countries on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.
P5+1 FMs, Zarif meeting likely
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said foreign ministers of the P5+1 group may meet on the sidelines of the forthcoming UN General Assembly in New York, Ryabkov told RIA Novosti in an interview on Tuesday.
"It is possible that a meeting of the P5+1 ministers with the Iranian foreign minister will be needed. There are reasons for contacts in this format," Ryabkov said.
He said the ministerial meeting depended on the new round of nuclear negotiations between political directors of Iran and the P5+1.
"I think that if the meeting starts to produce some results, then a full-format 'six plus one' meeting with Iran will take place," he said.
The upcoming talks in New York may yield groundbreaking results in reaching a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, according to the Russian official.
"The New York negotiations could be a watershed moment, if you ask me, a certain frontier, after which specific agreements will be reached promptly. Let's hope for this. Necessary preconditions for it have been created," Ryabkov said.
International mediators and Iran have to demonstrate maximum political will and focus on the result during the talks in New York, the Russian deputy foreign minister underlined.
The seventh round of talks between Iran and the P5+1—Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany—which aim to narrow the remaining gaps and finalize a nuclear deal between the two sides, will officially begin on Thursday.
The new round of negotiations will be held on the sidelines of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and the Iranian foreign minister is scheduled to attend the UN meeting.
On Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi said Iran hopes for a final agreement before November 25 provided the other parties involved in nuclear negotiations are frank and flexible enough.
He made the remarks in a meeting with the Secretary of State at the Swiss Foreign Ministry Yves Rossier in Bern.
Meanwhile, China called on all relevant parties to negotiations over Iran's nuclear energy program to adopt a 'flexible and pragmatic' policy to accelerate the conclusion of a comprehensive deal.
"We hope that all the parties adopt a flexible and practical attitude, meet each other half way, and eventually reach a fair, balanced, mutually beneficial and win-win comprehensive agreement," said Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council have been discussing ways to iron out differences and start drafting a final deal that would end the West's dispute with Iran over the country's nuclear energy program.