By Elise Labott, reporting from the United Nations
So what did President Barack Obama mean when he said he was instructing Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate a deal with Iran on its nuclear program?
Basically it’s to show that the United States is ready to play ball.
Senior administration officials said it wasn't to indicate a new initiative, as negotiations with Iran are already technically already taking place.
Instead, it was meant to show an increased emphasis and importance the president is putting on improved relations.
Until now, negotiations with Iran have been held at political directors level.
Obama’s decision to entrust Kerry to take the file is meant to reiterate his openness to move forward with Iran, particularly on the bilateral level although no separate meetings between Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif are planned as of now.
But Kerry will join his Iranian counterpart at a Thursday meeting of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany. Discussions will surround restarting talks on Iran's nuclear program.