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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid