World News

    Iran Offers More Access to UN Nuclear Watchdog

    Iranian officials say Inspectors from the United Nations could be allowed inside Iran's new heavy water nuclear reactor within weeks.

    The spokesman for Iran's nuclear department tells the official IRNA news agency Tehran is willing to grant the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency access to its Arak reactor before the next round of talks with the agency on December 11.

    But Behrouz Kamalvandi also says details of such an inspection still need to be worked out.



    Iran and the IAEA signed an agreement that will allow expanded inspections of Iran's nuclear sites.

    In Vienna, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said the agreement represents a good start.



    "We have agreed to further cooperate with respect to the verification to be undertaken by the IAEA to resolve all present and past issues."



    Amano also said he still wants Iran to answer questions about its alleged nuclear weapons program, though the issue is not specifically outlined in the deal.

    Iran insists its nuclear program has always been designed for peaceful purposes.

    Meanwhile, Iran's top nuclear negotiator is back home, touting progress in the most recent round of talks with Western powers over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

    Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sounded upbeat tone about the Geneva talks during an Iranian television talk show Monday.



    "Everybody felt that considerable progress had been made. Everybody believed that there were grounds for reaching a mutual understanding and a solution, and grounds did exist. I still believe that fairly good progress was made. Let's say if we had wanted to progress by 90 percent, we did actually progress by 70 or 75 percent."



    Zarif blamed the lack of a deal on divisions among the P5+1, the group that includes the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Western powers were united in their proposal and that it was Iran which was not ready to accept the deal.

    On Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the key point is that negotiations are going to resume next week.



    "Fault is immaterial. They didn't agree to an agreement. They're going to come back next week and continue the discussions and continue the negotiations. We've narrowed the gaps. There are still issues that remain. And that's where things stand."



    Despite optimism that there is a chance for the negotiations to produce a deal acceptable to all sides, some U.S. lawmakers are calling for new sanctions against Iran.

    In an opinion piece Tuesday in USA Today, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Menendez wrote, "Tougher sanctions will serve as an incentive for Iran to verifiably dismantle its nuclear weapons program. When Iran complies, sanctions can be unwound and economic relief will follow."

    Secretary Kerry has been in touch with lawmakers since the talks in Geneva began and is scheduled to brief the Senate banking committee Wednesday. Psaki says his message on sanctions has been consistent.



    "The right step is to put a temporary pause on sanctions. It doesn't mean we can't put them in place in the future. They're (the U.S. negotiators) not eliminating that. This is simply a pause to see if this negotiating process can work its way through."



    British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said the P5+1 powers would lift some of the sanctions they have imposed on Iran if a preliminary deal over its nuclear program could be reached. He also said the punitive measures could be intensified if negotiations fail.

    The separate deal between Iran and the IAEA deal requires Iran to give inspectors "managed access" within three months to the country's main uranium mine, access to the reactor at Arak as well as long-sought information about some of its other nuclear activities.



    ((SHOTLIST:
    1. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki walks to podium
    2. SOUNDBITE (English) State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, saying:
    "Fault is immaterial. They didn't agree to an agreement. They're going to come back next week and continue the discussions and continue the negotiations. We've narrowed narrowed the gaps. There are still issues that remain. And that's where things stand."
    3. Cutaway to reporters
    4. SOUNDBITE (English) State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, saying:
    "The right step is to put a temporary pause on sanctions. It doesn't mean we can't put them in place in the future. They're (the U.S. negotiators) not eliminating that. This is simply a pause to see if this negotiating process can work its way through."
    5. Cutaway to reporters

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.