News / Middle East

'Tough' Iran Talks Continue in Geneva

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, left, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, second left, Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, right, in Geneva, Nov. 9, 2013.British Foreign Secretary William Hague, left, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, second left, Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, right, in Geneva, Nov. 9, 2013.
x
British Foreign Secretary William Hague, left, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, second left, Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, right, in Geneva, Nov. 9, 2013.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague, left, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, second left, Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, right, in Geneva, Nov. 9, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Al Pessin
— After a late night of negotiating, European and Iranian foreign ministers and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry resumed their talks early in Geneva Saturday morning, trying to resolve tough issues about the future of Iran's nuclear program and international sanctions designed to curb it.  
 
The talks ended close to midnight, but Secretary Kerry and the European Union's foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton were back at the negotiating table at 8 a.m. (0300 UTC), soon joined by the foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany. They were preparing for another meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.
 
Zarif had raised expectations of a deal, saying his country was prepared to address some of the international community's concerns about its nuclear program in return for some relief from crippling economic sanctions. He predicted an agreement by Friday evening in working-level talks.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second left, meets with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, center, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, third right, at the Iran Nuclear talks in Geneva, Nov. 9, 2013.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second left, meets with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, center, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, third right, at the Iran Nuclear talks in Geneva, Nov. 9, 2013.
x
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second left, meets with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, center, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, third right, at the Iran Nuclear talks in Geneva, Nov. 9, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second left, meets with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, center, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, third right, at the Iran Nuclear talks in Geneva, Nov. 9, 2013.
​But that did not happen, and Secretary Kerry and the other foreign ministers flew in on short notice to try to break the impasse. The Russian foreign minister arrived Saturday morning and a Chinese vice-minister was also expected, making it a nearly full ministerial gathering of the six-nation United Nations contact group.

​Officials have given few details of the negotiations, but French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius broke the news blackout Saturday in an interview with France Inter Radio.  
 
Minister Fabius says the contact group wants Iran to delay activation of its new reactor at Arak, which is expected to come online next year. It could produce large quantities of plutonium, a key component in nuclear bombs. He said the U.N. team also wants Iran to reduce the purity of some of its stock of highly enriched uranium, another potential bomb component.
 
He says Iran wants significant relief from economic sanctions, and the contact group is insisting that Iran's concessions be of the same magnitude.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters the talks have made real progress, but there is no guarantee of success.

“It's certainly not possible to say that we can be sure there will be a deal at the end of today. And if there isn't, of course, then we must continue to apply ourselves in the coming weeks,” said Hague.

Some members of the U.S. Congress have expressed concern about granting any sanctions relief without significant Iranian concessions, and the Israeli prime minister has accused the contact group of giving Iran everything it wanted while getting nothing in return.
 
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, right, poses for photographers with his Iranian counterpart Jawad Zarif prior to their meeting at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris, France, Nov. 5, 2013.French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, right, poses for photographers with his Iranian counterpart Jawad Zarif prior to their meeting at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris, France, Nov. 5, 2013.
x
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, right, poses for photographers with his Iranian counterpart Jawad Zarif prior to their meeting at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris, France, Nov. 5, 2013.
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, right, poses for photographers with his Iranian counterpart Jawad Zarif prior to their meeting at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris, France, Nov. 5, 2013.
The revelations by Foreign Minister Fabius seem to indicate that the U.N. team is making more demands than had previously been thought. But Israel's concern is that Iran could maintain the ability to restart the potentially dangerous parts of its nuclear program.
 
Iran says it does not want to build a nuclear weapon, but the U.N. Security Council is not convinced, and had demanded that Iran stop producing near weapons-grade nuclear fuel and allow inspections to prove it. The Security Council, the European Union, the United States and many other countries have imposed economic sanctions on Iran to force it to comply, or at least negotiate.
 
The new Iranian government that took office in July has shown more willingness to do that than the previous government. But it faces opposition from hardliners who oppose any concessions on the nuclear program.
 
Officials here say that this accord, if it is reached, will only be a first step, and that sanctions would be reimposed and potentially strengthened if it does not work out. But critics say it would be easier for Iran to restart its nuclear fuel enrichment than for the international community to agree to renew comprehensive sanctions.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Change Iran Now from: USA
November 10, 2013 3:27 PM
With the nuclear talks collapsing, any restart in negotiations must include human rights considerations. As a party to several human rights treaties and as a Member State of the United Nations, Iran is legally obligated to protect the civil, political and religious rights of its citizens. Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Iran has been involved in large-scale abuses of human rights, including systematic persecution of religious minorities and severe restrictions on the freedoms of expression and assembly. The West shouldn't be deceived by false promises, but instead hold Iran accountable for its acts and behavior.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid