News

Rice Urges Iran to Accept Incentives Package

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Tuesday urged Iran to prove its interest in better relations by accepting the big-power offer of incentives for Tehran to stop uranium enrichment. Rice was responding to interview remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran wants to seek "common ground" with Washington on the nuclear issue.  VOA's David Gollust reports from the State Department.

Rice is challenging the Iranian leader to back up what are seen as conciliatory remarks in his television interview by accepting the incentives offer and halting the enrichment drive the United States considers as weapons related.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, in an unusual interview with a U.S. media outlet, told the NBC broadcast network Monday that Iran and the United States should try to find "common ground" in their respective positions on the nuclear issue and work for an agreement.

Rice, who spoke at a joint press appearance with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, said Iran can show its good faith and intentions by accepting the enhanced incentives package submitted last month by the five permanent U.N. Security Council member countries and Germany, the P Five Plus One.

"There's one way for the Iranians to make clear that they have found common ground," said Condoleezza Rice. "It's to come and say we accept the proposal, this is a good basis for the beginnings of pre-negotiations within a six week period, and then we can suspend our enrichment and reprocessing, and we can begin real negotiations. And the United States will fundamentally be at the table."

In mid-June, the P Five Plus One offered to suspend U.N. sanctions and provide Iran civilian nuclear aid and various other benefits if it stopped enrichment and returned to negotiations over its nuclear program.

In the six-week pre-negotiation period cited by Rice, the major powers would refrain from adding new sanctions if Iran stopped adding to its enrichment capacity.

At a July 19 Geneva meeting, attended by third-ranking State Department official William Burns, Iran offered a policy paper that proposed several more rounds of talks with big-power ministers but was non-committal about halting enrichment.

European Union chief diplomat Javier Solana gave Iran two additional weeks to come up with a definitive response and Rice said here if the incentives side of the process is not working, Iran can expect tighter sanctions on its economy.

For his part, Foreign Minister Frattini said Italy firmly backs the two-track strategy:

"Iran making a nuclear bomb is simply not acceptable," said Franco Frattini. "This is the Italian position which is very firm. We believe in the double-track strategy: on one hand putting on the table a generous offer, on the other hand standing very firm in confirming that if Iran does not take seriously negotiations with Europe and the international community, we cannot accept to stay inactive, and we will have to implement in full."

In the NBC interview, Mr. Ahmadinejad again denied Iran is working to produce nuclear weapons, suggesting they are relics of the past century.

The two-week deadline set by Solana expires Saturday, though officials here said the major powers are prepared to wait an additional day or two for an official Iranian response.  

 

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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
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 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