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

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

Al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs