Cautioning that the meeting was "only a start" after a 15-month hiatus, Mr. Solana said that the meeting was "enhanced by the full participation" of the United States for the first time.
US Undersecretary of State William Burns held direct discussions with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili – the highest level of such contact for 30 years – during the meeting between Iran and the permanent five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5+1.
Despite that high-profile marker, it had not been clear going into the meeting how much progress would be made since both sides had very different agendas. Critical for Iran was the fact that talks are now set to continue, and that positions that appeared impossible to reconcile – at least according to the sharp rhetoric from both sides beforehand – are now in play.
"Jalili was here to break the ice; I think setting the stage for an Ahmadinejad meeting with Obama or some other big shot," said an Iranian journalist covering the talks in Geneva. "These guys don't have authority ... they just have enough to build the road. Someone else has to drive it home."
"I think they can convince the Americans to reduce their expectations," added the journalist, who asked not to be named.
Iran to open second enrichment facility to inspectors
American expectations were low already, to the point where US officials this week began to speak of President Barack Obama's several overtures to Iran this year in the past tense as a policy effort.