News / Middle East

UN, Iran Report Positive Nuclear Talks

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano from Japan, speaks to the media before his flight to Iran at Vienna International Airport, Austria, May 20, 2012. Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano from Japan, speaks to the media before his flight to Iran at Vienna International Airport, Austria, May 20, 2012.
x
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano from Japan, speaks to the media before his flight to Iran at Vienna International Airport, Austria, May 20, 2012.
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano from Japan, speaks to the media before his flight to Iran at Vienna International Airport, Austria, May 20, 2012.
Al Pessin
A senior Iranian official and the United Nations nuclear affairs chief say they made progress in talks in Tehran Monday, as they laid the groundwork for nuclear negotiations between Iran and major world powers on Wednesday.

Iranian media quote the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, as saying the meeting was “intensive” and “very useful,” and would definitely “have a positive impact on” Wednesday’s talks.

But he also reportedly hinted at continuing disagreements, saying Iran and his agency each have their own views on the details of a framework to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but Western officials and experts suspect it is aimed at developing the ability to build a nuclear weapon.  The IAEA chief apparently did not get Iranian approval for inspections of key nuclear facilities.

It was Amano's first trip to Iran since taking office at the U.N. nuclear agency in 2009.

Nuclear facilities and sites in Iran.Nuclear facilities and sites in Iran.
x
Nuclear facilities and sites in Iran.
Nuclear facilities and sites in Iran.
After the talks, the top Iranian nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said he had a good discussion with Amano about how to cooperate on global nuclear disarmament, stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and supporting the rights of IAEA member states.

Jalili made the comments standing alongside Amano at a joint news conference broadcast on Iranian state television. He called the talks “very good” and expressed the hope for “good cooperation in the future.”

Before leaving Vienna, Amano said he hoped to build on "good progress" made by lower-level IAEA and Iranian officials in the Austrian capital last week. But Amano also said "nothing is certain" about the prospects for an agreement on nuclear inspections.

Iran has rejected repeated IAEA requests to inspect its Parchin military complex in response to Western allegations of atomic weapons research at the site. Tehran says the complex houses only conventional weapons and insists the Iranian nuclear program is peaceful.

Tehran Weighs Options

Proliferation expert Mark Fitzpatrick at London’s International Institute for International Studies says Iran probably already has the capability to build a nuclear weapon. But he says economic sanctions may have given Iranian leaders enough incentive to take steps to reassure the international community that they won’t.

“Iran feels under great pressure on the sanctions front," Fitzpatrick said. "It sees that this pressure is only going to increase unless it takes some steps.  So I think it has made a decision to try to do something to relieve the pressure, whether enough to bring about any reduction in sanctions, that’s where I have some doubt.”

Wednesday’s meeting will bring Iranian officials together in Baghdad with senior representatives of the permanent five United Nations Security Council members and Germany.  

Fitzpatrick says the international officials will be looking for concrete steps by Iran to ensure that it cannot quickly build a nuclear weapon.  Such steps could include removing from the country highly enriched uranium and the centrifuges that make it.

Fitzpatrick says such moves would be in keeping with official Iranian policy declarations, but he is not sure the country’s leaders are ready to agree to them this week.

“There’s a lot of positive ‘mood music’ surrounding the Baghdad meeting," he said. "But I fear that the expectations might have risen too high, because I think what Iran will be seeking and what it is willing to give at this stage, those two may not yet meet.”

Fitzpatrick says the improved negotiating atmosphere and the prospect for some progress have eased pressure for an immediate military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.  

Israel Wary

But in Israel, where the prospect of a military strike is hotly debated, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Monday that Iran would try to “create an appearance of progress” in order to relieve international pressure.  

Israel sees a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence and refuses to rule out military action against the Iranian nuclear program.

During a visit to Prague Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed concern about the Baghdad talks, saying Iran may use them to buy time to advance its weapons ambitions.

Western officials say they will only be satisfied by concrete actions. The United States also has refused to rule out a strike on Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

VOA's Michael Lipin in Washington contributed to this report.
Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid