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UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- President Barack Obama on Tuesday welcomed the new Iranian government's pursuit of what he described as a 'more moderate course,' saying it should offer the basis for a breakthrough on Iran's nuclear impasse with the U.S. and the United Nations.

'The roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested,' Obama said during an address to the U.N. General Assembly.

Obama said he was charging Secretary of State John Kerry with pursuing diplomatic progress on the nuclear issue with Iran, in coordination with five other world powers. Kerry will join representatives from those nations Thursday in a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.

It's unclear whether Kerry and Zarif will meet one-on-one on the sidelines of that meeting. And Obama also offered no hints of whether he will meet Tuesday with new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani. Even a brief handshake would be significant and would mark the first such encounter between U.S. and Iranian leaders in 36 years.

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