News / Middle East

High-Level Iran Talks End Without an Agreement

Nuclear Fuel Concerns Block Iran Agreementi
X
November 10, 2013 7:19 PM
Foreign ministers from leading U.N. countries will have to try again in the coming weeks to forge an agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear program and allow for the easing of economic sanctions. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Geneva that some dramatic diplomacy over the past few days failed to do the job.
Nuclear Fuel Concerns Block Iran Agreement
Al Pessin
Iranian and international negotiators have concluded three days of dramatic negotiations in Geneva without an agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program and ease damaging economic sanctions. Another round of talks has been set for November 20.

At first, this was a working-level gathering -- a routine interim step in the negotiating process. Then Iran's foreign minister predicted success by Friday night and his counterparts from most of the six United Nations contact group countries interrupted their schedules to fly to Geneva. Among them was U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was on a visit to the Middle East.

Then it all came apart. Whatever agreement Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif thought was imminent was not acceptable to the U.N. group. After negotiating until nearly midnight Friday and beyond midnight Saturday, it fell to the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to make the announcement.

“After what I think you all know have been three days of intense and constructive discussions, a lot of concrete progress has been achieved, but some differences remain," said Ashton.

She said the negotiators would reconvene in 10 days to try again to reach an agreement.

Tight-lipped on dispute

Ashton and other officials would not identify the points of agreement or dispute. But earlier, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the six-nation U.N. contact group was not willing to allow Iran to continue preparing a heavy water reactor at Arak that will be able to make plutonium -- a key ingredient in nuclear bombs. And he said the group wants Iran to reduce its stockpile of highly enriched uranium, another bomb-making agent.

Iran says it has no intention of building a nuclear bomb, but there is a lot of concern in the international community, particularly because Iran has been very secretive about its program, has violated agreements in the past and has built facilities that experts say go beyond what is needed for nuclear power generation and research.

Minister Zarif said he was not disappointed by the outcome of the talks. Hopes had been raised by the improved atmosphere in the first round of talks with Iran's new government three weeks ago, but Zarif said he had expected disagreements to emerge when the two sides got to discussing details.

“What I was looking for was the political will and determination and readiness and good faith in order to end this phase and start implementing this phase," said Zarif. "Of course, we have our differences. That's why we're here. If we had agreed then we didn't need to be here and you didn't need to stay up until one o'clock in the morning to hear us.”

He said all the ministers are “on the same wave length” and have the “impetus to go forward.”

US sees progress

Secretary of State Kerry said there was “significant progress” in these talks and he believes an agreement can be reached in the coming weeks. He also acknowledged the concerns of Israel and of many members of the U.S. Congress, and indicated he will share details of the emerging agreement with them.

Kerry said, “I am convinced that over these next days the reasonable-ness of what we are doing and the reality of what we achieved will be taken into account by those who need to know that that is.”

He said the U.S. and its allies must exhaust all options to peacefully guarantee that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon before there is any talk of military action.

Much of the discussion appears to have dealt with technical issues related to Iran's nuclear program, and regarding which of the many economic sanctions on Iran will be eased. But analyst Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy says the negotiators also need to build in incentives to keep any first-phase agreement on track.

“It’s important to have an agreement structured in such a way that each of the two parties continue to have an interest in implementing that agreement each and every month," said Clawson.

But there is still work to be done before there is an agreement to implement - work the negotiators will return to in 10 days.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
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 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 US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
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.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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