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.
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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
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 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 With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
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 Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic 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.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

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