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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid