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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs