News / Middle East

Iran Continues Its Tussle With West

The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is seen, just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran, 26 Oct 2010
The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is seen, just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran, 26 Oct 2010
Henry Ridgwell

Iran remains at odds with the United States and other western powers over its nuclear program and human rights. But despite the tightening of economic sanctions against Iran over the past 12 months, the diplomatic standoff looks set to extend well into next year. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Iran has longed claimed that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and denies Western accusations that it seeks nuclear weapons.

Iranian negotiators met  in early December in Geneva with the representatives of six major powers - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.  But Iran agreed only to meet again in Istanbul in January and its chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, says Iran will not halt its enrichment program.

"We do not believe in talks wherein the other party or parties will use pressure to push their agenda," said Jalili. "We are not going to subscribe to that."

The U.S., the EU and the United Nations Security Council have all ramped up sanctions against Iran in the past year.

In July, President Barack Obama signed into law sanctions targeting Iran's energy and banking sectors, while making it increasingly tough for foreign companies to do business with Iran.

Middle East expert Rosemary Hollis:

"You've seen an increase of pressure on Iran in the form of sanctions and some some surprising developments of unity among the external players to ratchet up the pressure in unison," said Hollis. "But you've also seen Iran seemingly unaffected - certainly in policy terms - even if  the economy is hurting quite badly."

Despite the discord, Hollis sees little prospect the dispute will go beyond rancorous diplomacy.

"The signs are that there's been a receding of the possibility of war in part because it would appear that the Iranians are having terrible trouble with their technology," she said. "There's also very strong indications, partly confirmed by the Iranians, that they were hit by some computer viruses that hit the software on which the whole operation depends."

The recent publication of stolen U.S. diplomatic cables included some that say Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has repeatedly urged the United States to destroy Iran's nuclear program.

Intelligence analyst Bob Ayers says the regional fear over Iran's nuclear program is understandable.

"Having Iran as a regional nuclear power is very destabilizing and the Arab world does not have the capability on its own to take on Iran, so they were trying to push the U.S. into going in and taking action to preclude Iran from developing a nuclear weapon," said Ayers.

Iran's relations with the U.S. are strained further by the continued detention of two Americans, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, who are accused of illegally crossing into Iran in 2009. A third U.S. citizen, Sarah Shourd, was released on bail in September. All three claim Iranian border guards arrested them while they were hiking in Iraqi territory.

The case of an Iranian widow and mother of two also has attracted international attention. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani faces death by stoning for alleged adultery, and a murder charge in connection to the death of her husband, but her execution has been repeatedly delayed.

Bahram Soroush has campaigned in Europe for Ashtiani's released.

"If Sakineh is alive today it's thanks to the campaign," said Soroush. "There were many other women and men in similar situations over the last three decades whose names we don't know, who died under sentences of stoning and execution and Sakineh's case was different because we had a picture of her, we had her full name, we had the son and daughter contacting the campaign to say that their mom was going to be stoned."

It's now 18 months since the Iranian government cracked down on the so-called Green Movement protests after the 2009 presidential election. Opposition supporters insist the spirit of those protests is not dead, but for now the Iranian government remains firmly in power.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs