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

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid