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 Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid