There's a potential diplomatic "bright spot" ahead for , CBS News National Security Analyst Juan Zarate said in the latest edition of CBSNews.com's "Flash Points," pointing tothis week at the United Nations General Assembly between President Obama and the newly elected President Hassan Rouhani.
Over the next few days all eyes in the international theater will be on the two leaders - their "body language, movements," Zarate said, and whether they or their aides are in the same place at the same time. In this "moment of opening rapprochement," he added, speculation about the possibility of a structured meeting at this juncture is premature.
"A meeting with the U.S. president in some ways is the ultimate prize - and so the U.S. side would not, sort of, I assume, give that up early," Zarate told CBS News correspondent Bob Orr. He predicted the administration will wait until it's determined Iran's sudden charm offensive is "genuine, real."
"You could imagine an informal coffee or something that allows them to be in the same orbit," he said, "but I would imagine that the U.S. would want to take this diplomatic dance slowly and would want to do step-by-step measures to not only build confidence and trust but hold out the meeting with the president."
Mr. Obama - who has exchanged letters with Rouhani - has long said he would welcome discussions with his Iranian counterpart so long the country can prove it's serious about curbing its nuclear supply. In an interview last week with ABC News, he suggested his approach moving forward would be gradual.
"Negotiations with the Iranians is always difficult; I think this new president is not going to suddenly make it easy," he said. "But, you know, my view is that if you have both a credible threat of force, combined with a rigorous diplomatic effort, that, in fact, you can strike a deal."
Appearing Sunday on "Face the Nation," though, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger argued the timing's not quite right for a meeting between the two presidents: "Iran has been building, with great energy, a nuclear program," he said.
"I would be more at ease if the meeting of the presidents occurred at the end of some diplomatic achievement," Kissinger continued. "But I can see the temptations."
Still, CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett on Monday morningthat expectations are "sky high" for the U.N. gathering in New York City.
"We have to understand the symbolic importance of a meeting in the first place," he explained. "There has not been direct contact between the United States government and Iran at a high level since before the Iranian revolution in 1979, so even a handshake in the hallways would symbolically mean a closening of relationships between the United States and Iran."
Though he agreed that a formal sit-down is unlikely, Garrett assessed it might be in Mr. Obama's interest to offer "a glancing shake of the hand or an encounter that indicates the United States is willing to listen and is more intrigued by Rouhani's move toward moderate rhetoric."