News / Middle East

Iran Willing to Resume Nuclear Talks as Sanctions Bite Hard

Western Sanctions Bite Hard in Irani
January 09, 2013 9:16 PM
Iran says it is prepared to return to talks with major world powers over its controversial nuclear program. But as Tehran continues its uranium enrichment program in defiance of Western fears it is developing a nuclear weapon, Western countries have tightened economic sanctions. Henry Ridgwell looks at the effectiveness of the sanctions and the impact on Iran’s economy.
Western Sanctions Bite Hard in Iran
Iran says it is prepared to return to talks, possibly later this month, with major world powers over its nuclear program.  As the country's uranium enrichment program continues, Western countries have tightened economic sanctions against Tehran. 

U.S. President Barack Obama last week signed off on a new round of sanctions targeting Iran’s energy and shipping sectors.  They build on a range of unilateral and multilateral sanctions against Iranian industry and banks.

The measures are aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program.  The West claims Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons; Tehran says the program is for civilian purposes.

Iran has indicated it is ready to hold a fresh round talks with international powers - the so-called P5+1 - the United States, Britain, Russia, China, and France, plus Germany.

Jamie Ingram, of IHS Global Insight, says the sanctions are forcing Iran to the negotiating table.

“This is hitting Iranians hard in the pocket,” said Ingram. "Also, with the restrictions on imports, there are growing food shortages.”

EU trade with Iran - even in permitted commodities - has fallen off dramatically in recent months.  That’s because European banks fear the wrath of the U.S., says Nigel Kushner, chief executive of W Legal which advises firms on trading with Iran.

“The Americans will have a quiet word with them, one suspects, and asks them not to do it,” said Kushner. "So they won’t do it even though they are permitted to do it.  I was speaking yesterday with a Swiss bank who have said, ‘We want to accept payments for medical goods, or humanitarian goods that are going to Iran, but we’re too scared to do it.' ”

Kushner says Iran is looking to countries beyond the jurisdiction of the sanctions to get what it needs.

“It might take longer, it might more cumbersome, and it might cost them more, but they will often look to countries like China, possibly Turkey, who don’t need to comply,” said Kushner.  

The banking sanctions are causing the most pain in Iran, says analyst Ali Fathollah-Nejad of the University of London.

“You have huge financial and banking sanctions, which is the eye of the storm from which every other civilian branches of the economy are then crippled,” said Fathollah-Nejad.  

He argues the West must put the sanctions up for negotiation at any upcoming talks if a diplomatic solution is to be found.

“In terms of its economic development, in terms of the well-being of its population, in terms of the well-being of its civil society, is something that Iranians inside and outside the country do care a lot about,” said Fathollah-Nejad. "And this is something that has to be put on the table.”

If the talks between Iran and the P5+1 go ahead, analysts expect a focus on short-term confidence-building rather than a solution to the crisis.

The sanctions against Iran, meanwhile, are a hot topic in Washington after President Obama announced his pick of Chuck Hagel to be the new secretary of defense.

Hagel, a former Republican senator, is on record in the past as opposing unilateral sanctions against Iran.  And if international talks with Iran fail, Hagel and the Pentagon would find themselves in the midst of a U.S. decision of whether to strike Iran militarily.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Vinayprasad from: India
January 09, 2013 11:36 PM
This article appears more like a propaganda, than anything else. These types of articles, I have noticed, came before all the earlier rounds of P5+1 and Iran talks. Every time the same story. Iran wants to come to the negotiating table because they are hardpressed. And if there is no result of the talks, all these types of articles will disappear into thin air.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs