The U.S. and Iranian envoys to the United Nations shared a rare moment of direct dialogue and compassion Thursday, following a heated Security Council meeting on compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord between world powers and Iran.
Tensions have soared between the countries, since the U.S. pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed a series of new economic sanctions on the oil-rich nation and its leaders' personal financial activities.
But in a remarkable private exchange, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.
Kelly Craft expressed her condolences to her Iranian counterpart Majid Takht Ravanchi over the death of an Iranian toddler, according to an official from the U.S. mission to the U.N.
The sidebar discussion marks one of the very few direct interactions between Iranian and U.S. officials in the past years.
During the tense Security Council gathering, Ravanchi said a two-year old girl had died this year from a rare disease known as EB, blaming her death on U.S. sanctions.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MAJID TAKHT RAVANCHI, IRANIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS, SAYING: "It is a shame that the U.S. bullying has resulted in discontinuation of export of certain medicines to Iran, causing nightmare for some patients." Medical and humanitarian supplies are exempt from U.S. sanctions, but they have deterred some foreign banks from doing any business at all with Tehran.
For her part, Craft told the Council that the U.S. would discuss a new deal under the right conditions.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) KELLY CRAFT, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS, SAYING: "The United States is willing to engage in dialogue with Iran to negotiate a deal that will better serve international peace and security.
But we will not sit idly by while Iran continues to destabilize the region." U.S. President Donald Trump has long insisted the 2015 nuclear deal didn't go far enough in restricting Iran's missile program or its proxy wars in the Middle East.