News / Middle East

Analysts Differ on Outlook for Iran Nuclear Talks

Iran's ambassador to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, speaks at a news conference in Moscow, Russia, saying the Istanbul talks are a 'window for an honorable path for the West to get out of the present impasse,' 20 Jan, 2
Iran's ambassador to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, speaks at a news conference in Moscow, Russia, saying the Istanbul talks are a 'window for an honorable path for the West to get out of the present impasse,' 20 Jan, 2

Multimedia

Iran will meet with representatives of the so-called "P5+1" nations Friday and Saturday in Istanbul. This round of talks about Iran's nuclear program is a follow-up to discussions held last month in Geneva.

When officials from the P5+1 nations - the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, plus Germany - sit down with Iran's representatives, their expectations will be the same as before. They want Tehran to be fully open about its nuclear program - including uranium enrichment and possible weapons development. The latter, if true, would violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty that Iran signed in 1972.

From Iran's side, the message going into the Istanbul talks is clear. Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a speech on January 19 said, "In the view of the Iranian nation, Iran's nuclear issue is finished ... sit down and cooperate with nuclear Iran."

The wide gap between the two sides is dampening optimism that the Istanbul talks will make substantial progress in resolving Iran's nuclear stance. One analyst with that view is Ploughshares Fund President Joseph Cirincione.

"I think the outlook for the talks is still pessimistic," said Cirincione. "There really is no sign that Iran trusts the P5+1 [nations], or is willing to make the kind of concessions that would make a compromise possible."

But another nuclear analyst, Michael Elleman with the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that after four rounds of UN sanctions and the threat of more, Iran has good reasons to try to bridge the gap.

"The fact that they are talking and they are continuing the process is encouraging to me," said Elleman. "The question will be how much progress is enough to forestall other measures that people will inevitably start calling for. But I think this is a good step and we need to keep our expectations low and hope for the best."

Iran has, in recent times, engaged in talks and then agreed to talk more in the future. At the Middle East Institute, analyst Alex Vatanka said that at the end of the Istanbul discussions, Iran needs to keep that process up, or face the consequences if it doesn't.

"So, you know, we can expect a statement, perhaps, on more talks," said Vatanka. "That would be a plus. On the minus side, you could see a collapse, and the idea of more sanctions happening by [next] summer, most likely."

However, Cirincione and other critics said Iran is simply using these talks to stall for time while it continues to work on its nuclear program, including, possibly, nuclear weapons.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey Young came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid