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Sanctions will stand as U.S., Iran parley

| Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, 7:06 p.m.
REUTERS
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waves while boarding his plane at Franz-Josef-Strauss Airport in Munich, southern Germany, February 2, 2014. Kerry was in the Bavarian capital to attend the Munich Security Conference. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool (GERMANY - Tags: POLITICS)

MUNICH — Secretary of State John Kerry told Iran's foreign minister on Sunday that the United States will continue to enforce sanctions on Iran while bargaining over a deal to rein in Iran's disputed nuclear program.

The top U.S. and Iranian diplomats held a rare face-to-face meeting in Germany, the State Department said. The private meeting furthers a warming of three decades of estrangement between the two nations that began with the election last year of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Kerry's discussion with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was their first since the United States and Iran struck a temporary agreement that caps the most worrisome elements of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for limited easing of global financial restrictions on Iran's oil business. They met in September at the United Nations to begin talks that Iran has sought as a way to end crushing economic sanctions.

“Secretary Kerry reiterated the importance of both sides negotiating in good faith and Iran abiding by its commitments” under that initial agreement, a senior State Department official said. “He also made clear that the United States will continue to enforce existing sanctions.”

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The negotiations with Iran are politically sensitive at home, where many in Congress distrust Iran's motives and oppose the administration's strategy of even limited easing of sanctions imposed in protest of a secretive nuclear program that Iran claims has no military purpose.

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