It's been more than 30 years since high-level officials from the United States and Iran sat down together to talk face-to-face.
That drought ended Thursday.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met in New York as part of a meeting between the Middle Eastern country and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.
Both diplomats described as "constructive" the meeting, which explored the idea of restarting talks on Iran's nuclear program.
"We hope to be able to make progress towards resolving this issue in a timely fashion based on respecting the rights of the Iranian people to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, including enrichment. And, at the same time, making sure that there is no concern at the international level that Iran's nuclear program is anything but peaceful," Zarif told reporters after the meeting.
Kerry, likewise, sounded cautiously optimistic.
"I think all of us were pleased that Foreign Minister Zarif came and made a presentation to us, which was very different in tone and very different in the vision that he held out with respect to the possibilities of the future," Kerry said.
"There's a lot of work to be done, so we will engage in that work obviously and we hope very, very much -- all of us -- that we can get concrete results that will answer the outstanding questions regarding the program," he added.
Zarif made a 15- to 20-minute presentation, a senior State Department official told CNN, laying out what Iran's interests were and his nation's desire to reach agreement with other nations and fully implement that agreement within a year. The State Department official called Zarif's presentation "thoughtful."
Outside of the larger meeting, Kerry and Zarif also had a short bilateral discussion.
"We stressed the need to continue these discussions to give it the political impetus that it requires, and hopefully to reach a conclusion in a reasonable time," Zarif said. "I'm satisfied with this first step. Now we have to see whether we can match our positive words with serious deeds so that we can move forward."
Such a high-level meeting involving the United States and Iran hasn't happened since Iran's 1979 revolution, which sent relations between the two into a deep freeze.
But the election of new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, widely seen as more moderate than his predecessor, seems to have opened the possibility of a thaw in relations.
Rouhani made comments this week that have led many leaders to conclude there is a chance to strike a nuclear accord between Iran and the other nations.
He called on Thursday for an end to nuclear weapons, saying such disarmament "remains our highest priority."
"As long as nuclear weapons exist, the risk of their use, threat of use and proliferation persist," Rouhani told the U.N. General Assembly on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. "The only absolute guarantee is their total elimination."
The recent developments prompted President Barack Obama to dispatch Kerry to seek a deal with Tehran.
The United States and other world powers have long said they believe Iran wants nuclear weapons. Iran has said it only wants to harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Obama said on Tuesday that curbing Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, along with solving the Middle East conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, would be his highest foreign policy priority for the remainder of his term.
"While these issues are not the cause of all the region's problems, they have been a major source of instability for far too long, and resolving them can help serve as a foundation for a broader peace," he said during his address on the opening day of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Obama sounded cautious about any possible breakthrough, saying "the roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested."
Senior administration officials said Obama made the decision to appoint Kerry his point man on Iran to demonstrate an increased emphasis and importance the president is putting on improved relations with Tehran.
Until now, negotiations have been held at lower levels. But raising the dialogue through Kerry was intended to reiterate Obama's openness to move forward with a bilateral approach on Iran.
Upon taking office, Rouhani appointed Foreign Minister Zarif, a western-educated former ambassador to the United Nations, as his lead nuclear negotiator. The move was similarly seen as a gesture at improving relations with the West.
In his speech to the General Assembly, Rouhani said Iran was prepared for immediate nuclear talks that are "time-bound and result-oriented ... to build mutual confidence and removal of mutual uncertainties."