Iran’s Zarif suggests Charlie Hebdo makes dialogue harder

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before a meeting in Geneva January 14, 2015. CREDIT: REUTERS/RICK WILKING

(Reuters) – Iran’s foreign minister said on Wednesday serious dialogue with the West would be easier if it respected Muslim sensitivities, ruffled by the latest Charlie Hebdo cartoons, as he held nuclear talks with the chief U.S. diplomat.

Speaking to reporters before seeing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Mohammad Jawad Zarif said the meeting would help gauge whether both sides were ready to advance toward a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

“I think it’s important. I think it will show the readiness of the two parties to move forward and to speed up the process,” Zarif told reporters as he waited for Kerry, who arrived four minutes late for their meeting at a Geneva hotel.

The two men met for about 90 minutes, broke for lunch, and then had a second session that lasted about 3 1/2 hours, including a leisurely joint stroll through downtown Geneva.

“We are working hard,” Kerry told a journalist during the roughly 15-minute walk, which took them along the Rhone River flowing out of Lake Geneva, according to a U.S. official…