News / Middle East

EU Says Iran Stalling on Nuclear Talks

Reuters
Iran is stalling on fixing a date and location for a new round of talks on its nuclear program, the European Union's foreign policy chief said on Wednesday, but there is still hope that talks between Tehran and six world powers can begin soon.
       
EU officials have been in contact with Iranian negotiators repeatedly since December to try to prepare a new set of talks, which the West hopes will lead to Iran scaling back its nuclear  work and avert the threat of another war in the Middle East.
       
But they have failed to agree on a plan so far.
       
"We proposed concrete dates and a venue in December,'' said a spokesman for Catherine Ashton, who oversees contacts with Iran on behalf of United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, often referred to as the six world powers.
       
"Since then, we have been very surprised to see Iran come back to us again and again with new pre-conditions on the modalities of the talks, for example by changing the venue and delaying their responses,'' spokesman Michael Mann said.
       
The Iranian Students' News Agency reported on Wednesday that Tehran had proposed Cairo as a possible venue, although without indicating when the meeting could take place.
       
The six powers have used a mix of diplomacy and economic sanctions for years to force Iran to comply with United Nations' demands that it suspend all of its activities related to enriching uranium, a key component of nuclear weapons.
       
But Iran rejects international accusations that its nuclear work has military goals, saying it is for medical and energy purposes, and has repeatedly said it wants international sanctions eased before it limits its atomic work.
       
Three rounds of negotiations last year failed to produce a breakthrough, fueling concerns that the stand-off could prompt Israel to attack Iran's nuclear installations.
       
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who won a new term in office this week, has said he would not let Iran reach the capability to make nuclear arms.
       
Getting to Agreement

Western diplomats had hoped that a new round could take place in December or January, following last year's presidential election in the United States. But Iran had failed to respond in time to their proposals that included Jan. 15.
       
Another date, at the end of the month, was later floated by western diplomats and Iranian media as a new option.
       
Holding the talks in Egypt could indicate warming ties between Cairo and Tehran, two of the Middle East's most influential countries.
       
Ashton's spokesman said negotiators remained in contact about new plans. Diplomats have in the past said Istanbul was also an option.
       
"The [world powers] are still hoping to reach agreement with Iran on the modalities of the talks, including venue, with a view to resuming talks shortly,'' he said.
       
An EU diplomat added several locations had been proposed so far and there was no agreement.
       
"We do not exclude any, but Iran is proposing different venues all the time. The venue is not the issue, but Iran appears to be trying to delay the process by coming up with new conditions,'' the diplomat said.

A separate but closely linked strand of talks are also being held between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to allow the U.N. agency to resume a long-stalled probe into suspected nuclear bomb research by Iran.
       
Iran and the IAEA met for two days last week but failed to reach an agreement.
       
But IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said in an interview with Reuters Television at the World Economic Forum in Davos that he still hoped for progress.
       
"I think that they have an interest in having a dialogue with us and to discuss this issue and narrow the gap in order to finalise the agreement,'' he said.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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