News / Europe

Britain’s Hague Says Iran Nuclear Deal Within Reach

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, left, and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu shake hands after a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 20, 2013.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague, left, and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu shake hands after a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 20, 2013.
Dorian Jones
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Wednesday that the differences between Iran and world powers over a potential deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program are narrow and a deal is within reach. Hague is in Istanbul attending a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the 2003 Istanbul bombings, in which al-Qaida attacked the British consulate.
Speaking at a joint press conference, Foreign Secretary Hague played down the warning made Wednesday by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ahead of a resumption of talks in Geneva, that the country would not step back one iota from its nuclear rights.  

“The differences between the parties are narrow, and I believe they can be bridged with political will and commitment, so this is an historic opportunity to build agreement on how to curb nuclear proliferation in the Middle East,” said Hague.

The Geneva talks between Tehran and world powers aim to resolve international concerns that Iran’s nuclear energy program is being used to develop weapons, a charge denied by Tehran.

After a first round of talks earlier this month, both sides claimed substantial progress had been made. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gave his support to those efforts, saying they are aimed at ensuring a nuclear free region.
The Turkish foreign minister said he would discuss Iran’s nuclear energy program during his visit to Tehran later this month.

Ankara is trying to improve strained ties with its neighbors.

One key player in the region is Syria, whose ongoing conflict was also discussed during the meeting between the British and Turkish foreign ministers. Hague promised $750 million in aid for Syrian refugees and called on Damascus to immediately allow aid to reach all of Syria's regions.

The British foreign minister also paid tribute to Turkey for its humanitarian assistance and support for the Syrian opposition. Hague also said he will help curtail the threat of the growing presence of jihadist fighters -- some linked to al-Qaida -- within the Syrian opposition.

“We’ve discussed the specific threat from terrorism arising from the Syrian conflict, something else we have to confront and defeat,” he said.

Observers say there is growing concern that Ankara is not doing enough to stop jihadists using Turkey as a bridge into Syria. Turkey has a 900-kilometer border with Syria, and Ankara has been repeatedly accused of providing tacit, if not direct, support to extreme Islamic groups fighting the Syrian regime.

But Sinan Ulgen, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels, says Ankara has changed its stance.

“Turkey is trying to convince its Western partners that it has disengaged from helping some of the more Islamist elements among [the] Syrian opposition,” said Ulgen. "This has been an area of criticism from Turkey’s partners in the West.”

In past few weeks, Turkish leaders have stepped up their condemnation of radical Islamic groups in Syria. Police raids have been carried out against al-Qaida cells in Turkey this past month, and Foreign Minister Davutoglu told reporters Wednesday that Turkey is committed to fighting terrorism anywhere in the world.

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs