GENEVA — Speaking in English and using PowerPoint, Iran’s foreign minister outlined a proposal to representatives of the big powers on Tuesday that would constrain his country’s nuclear program in return for a right to enrich uranium and an easing of the sanctions that have been battering the Iranian economy.
After the discussions, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, and his team met for about an hour at the United Nations headquarters here with the American delegation, led by Wendy Sherman, a senior State Department official. The substance was not disclosed, but the meeting itself was unusual.
The proposal presented by the foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, at negotiations on Iran’s disputed nuclear program, called for “an end to an unnecessary crisis and a start for new horizons,” according to Iranian officials.
In a possible sign that the negotiations have turned serious after years of delay and obfuscations, a senior State Department official suggested that the discussions had been workmanlike.
“For the first time, we had very detailed technical discussions, which carried on this afternoon,” said the State Department official, who declined to be identified under the diplomatic protocol for talking to the news media. “We will continue the discussions tomorrow.”
Michael Mann, a spokesman for Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top foreign policy official and the lead negotiator in the talks with Iran, said earlier in the day that the Iranian proposal had been “very useful.”
Mr. Zarif presented the proposal during the first morning session of the talks with the P5-plus-1 countries, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany.
The two-day talks are the first formal negotiations between those countries and Iran since the election of Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, who took office in August and has pledged to reach an agreement on the nuclear program in an effort to end the country’s prolonged economic isolation.
Iranian officials said they wanted the details of Iran’s proposal to remain confidential for the time being. But the Iranian Students’ News Agency, ISNA, quoted Mr. Araqchi as saying…