Iran appeared to understand there was new urgency on the nuclear issue, agreeing at the Geneva talks to open its second enrichment facility to inspectors.
At a midday break, diplomats said the tone has been "civil" but a US official says Iran's delegation lacks the 'cohesion and confidence' to make a deal.
The president had been criticized for choosing loyalty over competence. Three of the most controversial new ministers have links to the Revolutionary Guard.
Protesters reported beatings and shootings near the parliament Wednesday. Regime opponents vowed to persist with protests that have deepened a cultural divide between hard-liners and more moderate reformers.
At least 40 people were killed at a stop along a major Shiite pilgrimage route to Karbala.
It hopes a deal to ship Iranian gas to India via Pakistan can boost its energy supply, regional ties.
Tehran has softened its tone, but tough decisions await the next US president.
Optimistic comments from the Iranian foreign minister suggest that an accord with West may yet be reached.