News

Iran Says 50-50 Chance of Success in Nuke Talks with EU

Roger Wilkison

A senior Iranian official says talks with the European Union about Iran's nuclear program have only a 50 percent chance of success. The official made the remark after preparatory talks in advance of the negotiating session planned for Wednesday in Geneva.

The foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany, and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will meet Wednesday with the top Iranian nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani in what both sides are calling a last-ditch attempt to save the negotiations.

With Iran threatening to resume some of the nuclear activities it froze last November as part of a deal with the Europeans, the European Union is warning that, if Tehran does so, it may have to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for punitive sanctions.

One of Mr. Rowhani's top deputies, Hossein Moussavian, was blunt as he emerged from the meeting at the French embassy in Brussels. He told reporters the chances of avoiding a breakdown in the talks are only 50-50.

"We are practically in the most difficult and complicated situation about the content of the negotiations. I believe our chance tomorrow is 50-50," he said. "We have had some steps forward, but we have a lot to go. I mean, I cannot say that I am completely optimistic."

Iran has accused the Europeans of dragging their feet in implementing their side of an accord whereby Iran suspended uranium enrichment in exchange for economic and technological help from the European Union. Iran maintains that, like other signatories to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it has a right to enrich uranium. And it insists that its nuclear program is for civilian use only.

But enriched uranium can be used for military as well as civilian purposes, and the United States has long believed that Iran is seeking a nuclear-weapons capability. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she has suspicions about Iran's intentions.

"I can say that there is significant concern around the world about the Iranian nuclear program," she said. "And I just want to add that it is not just the Iranian nuclear program but, of course, Iran, which has been a state sponsor of terrorism."

Iran has not threatened to resume uranium enrichment, although it insists it has the right to do so. What it has promised to do in the near future is to resume the conversion of uranium into gas, which is a precursor step to producing enriched uranium.

But the Europeans, whose efforts to engage Iran contrast with Washington's harder line toward the Islamic republic, say the resumption of any activity Iran froze as a result of the November agreement would breach that accord. Though they are reluctant to see the talks fail, they are prepared to refer Iran to the Security Council.

Tuesday's preparatory talks came as a leading London policy research organization, the International Institute of Strategic Studies, said the EU-Iran talks appeared doomed to failure. It said most Iranians support their country's development of a nuclear capability. But it warned that a nuclear Iran could destabilize the Middle East.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs