Secretary of State John Kerry's meeting with Iran's foreign minister ("Kerry to meet Iran's foreign minister at UN in first face-to-face talks since 1979," Sept. 23) represents a good first step for direct negotiations between the U.S. and Iran, a country that does not threaten U.S. national interests. Hopefully, President Barack Obama will also meet with the new Iranian president, Hasan Rowhani, who has been reaching out to the West since entering office.

It is past time for the U.S. to stop allowing Israel and its powerful lobby to dictate our foreign policy, which has caused us so much harm and expense. We should be talking and trading with Iran, not threatening them with harsher sanctions and, even worse, military action. When goods cross borders, armies don't. A recent Quaker study concluded that preventing war is 60 times cheaper than entering into war. Iran is ready for diplomacy with the U.S. We must meet them halfway.

Ray Gordon, Bel Air