News

    Experts Urge Direct US-Iranian Talks to Resolve Nuclear Issue

    Iran has once again rejected cooperation with the United Nations in curtailing its nuclear weapons ambitions. Some experts are calling for direct U.S.-Iranian talks to resolve the issue.

    The confrontation between many Western nations and Iran is heating up as Tehran continues to defy the international community by enriching uranium - a process that can be used either for civilian or military purposes.

    Iranian officials have said for years their program is meant only for peaceful goals, such as producing electricity. But the United States and Europe believe Tehran's ambitions are ultimately to build nuclear weapons.

    Experts say now that Tehran has refused to stop its enrichment program, as demanded by the United Nations Security Council, the international community must look at measures to force Iran to comply with U.N. demands. One solution would be to impose sanctions, though Russia and China are against such measures.

    Others have advocated a military attack on Iran. Bush administration officials have stated 'all options are on the table,' meaning a military strike has not been ruled out. But at the same time, they have stressed diplomacy is the way forward.

    Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns repeated that message during a recent State Department briefing.

    "We are devoted and dedicated to making the Security Council process effective," he said.  "We are putting an enormous amount of energy and a lot of resources into thinking through how the Security Council can be effective. So we haven't given up on diplomacy. We have not given up on the Security Council and the largest part of our effort will be through the Security Council."

    However a number of foreign policy experts have said the best way to address Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions would be through direct talks between Washington and Tehran. One of those experts is Joseph Cirincione, from the Council on Foreign Relations.

    "We have diplomacy. We can negotiate," he said.  "The United States is not even talking to Iran yet. Why not? Why aren't we negotiating with Iran? We negotiated with Libya. We're negotiating with North Korea. We negotiated with Stalin and Mao.  Why aren't we talking with Iran?"

    Last month there was an agreement to begin discussions between Washington and Tehran restricted only to Iraqi-related issues. Iran has close ties to some members of the Shiaa community in Iraq.

    But U.S. officials have said those talks have been delayed pending the formation of a new Iraqi government. And Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says now that there is a new Iraqi Prime Minister, there is no need for direct U.S.-Iranian talks.

    However Ted Carpenter, foreign policy expert at the Cato Institute, says Mr. Ahmadinejad does not speak for the entire Iranian leadership.

    "We have to understand that in Iran, the president basically controls the cabinet and not much more than that," said Mr. Carpenter.  "The real power lies with the senior mullahs. Many of them appear to be far more interested in talking to the United States than Ahmadinejad is."

    Carpenter says if the talks take place, the United States should not just focus on Iran's role in Iraq. They should be expanded to include nuclear issues - and he says Washington should offer Iran what he calls 'a grand bargain.'

    "It would be a proposal to normalize diplomatic relations with Iran, to end all economic sanctions and normalize economic relations in exchange for an agreement whereby Iran would allow comprehensive, on demand, international inspections of its nuclear program to make sure that, while Iran might build a peaceful nuclear power program, it would not be able to divert fissile material to a weapons program," he added.

    Carpenter says such a deal would benefit both parties and would resolve the dispute without the danger of military action.

    Charles Kupchan, former National Security Council member in the first Clinton administration, says face-to-face talks raise some important questions.

    "Would a direct American dialogue with Tehran accord the regime and the country the sort of respect that they are seeking and make them more compliant? Or would it, on the other hand, make them feel like they are making progress and therefore dig in their heels? It's a debate that is taking place within the foreign policy community today," he explained.  "And it is also something that is probably being discussed across the Atlantic where the Europeans may be encouraging the United States to get more involved."

    For the time being, President Bush says one-on-one talks could present problems and he favors a multi-national approach.

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora