News / Middle East

Angry Over US Sanctions, Iran Stops Nuclear Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (3rd L) arrives to brief members of the U.S. Senate on talks with Iran during a closed-door meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 11, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (3rd L) arrives to brief members of the U.S. Senate on talks with Iran during a closed-door meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 11, 2013.
Reuters
Iran's anger over a new U.S. sanctions measure may have been behind its move to interrupt talks with world powers over how to implement last month's breakthrough nuclear agreement, two diplomats said on Friday.
 
Several envoys stressed, however, that the inconclusive outcome of the Dec. 9-12 expert-level discussions in Vienna should not be seen as a sign that the political deal hammered out nearly three weeks ago was in serious trouble.
 
The Nov. 24 interim accord, reached after marathon talks in Geneva, is seen as a step towards resolving a decade-old standoff over suspicions that Iran is covertly seeking the capability to make nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
 
Experts from Iran, the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union labored during this week's talks at the headquarters of the U.N. nuclear watchdog to agree on how to carry it out in practice.
 
But in a sign of the technical difficulties involved, they will now consult with their capitals before meeting again.
 
A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who coordinates the six powers' negotiations with Iran, said the discussions were expected to resume in the near future.
 
“After four days of lengthy and detailed talks, reflecting the complexity of the technical issues discussed, it became clear that further work is needed,” Michael Mann said.
 
“There will now be consultations in capitals, in the expectation that technical talks will continue soon.”
 
Iran said on Friday a new U.S. measure targeting companies and individuals for supporting its nuclear program violated the spirit of the Geneva deal.
 
Under that deal, Iran will curb its atomic activities in return for some easing of the international sanctions that have battered the major oil producer's economy.
 
The United States on Thursday black-listed additional companies and people under sanctions aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining the capability to make nuclear weapons, U.S. officials said. Iran says its atomic work is purely peaceful.
 
Treasury and State Department officials said the move showed the Geneva deal “does not, and will not, interfere with our continued efforts to expose and disrupt those supporting Iran's nuclear program or seeking to evade our sanctions.”
 
Geneva 'spirit'

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told the semi-official Fars news agency on Friday: “We are evaluating the situation and Iran will react accordingly to the new sanctions imposed on 19 companies and individuals. It is against the spirit of the Geneva deal.”
 
One diplomat said the Iranian delegation suddenly announced late on Thursday evening - hours after Washington made its decision public - that it was returning to Tehran.
 
The Iranians said “they had received instructions from Tehran to stop the discussions and fly back to Tehran,” the diplomat said. “It was quite unexpected.”
 
An EU diplomat said he did not believe the decision was linked to the issues under discussion in the Austrian capital.
 
“My understanding was that this was not to do with a specific problem in what they were talking about but actually their reaction to moves in the U.S. on sanctions,” the diplomat said, adding that the hope was that it was a temporary problem.
 
“The Iranians have been committed to making this work,” the diplomat said. “We are not panicking.”
 
Iranian officials were not immediately available for comment.
 
Diplomats earlier said it was very hard to translate the  Geneva agreement into a plan for action, but that there was a political will to iron out any differences. They said implementation may start in January after technical matters have been settled.
 
The deal was designed to halt Iran's nuclear advances for six months to buy time for negotiations on a final settlement of a dispute that has stirred fears of a new Middle East war.
 
Scope for diplomacy widened after Iran elected the pragmatic Hassan Rouhani as president in June. He had promised to reduce Tehran's isolation and win sanctions easing.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Arkansas, North Carolina have approved similar laws that gay-marriage opponents say help maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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