News / Middle East

    Iran, US Hold Bilateral Nuclear Talks in Geneva

    Deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Asghar Zarean explains about a part of a machine of the country's nuclear facilities in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 1, 2014.
    Deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Asghar Zarean explains about a part of a machine of the country's nuclear facilities in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 1, 2014.
    Reuters

    Iran and the United States met in Geneva for bilateral talks on Thursday as international diplomacy intensifies to end a decade-old dispute over Tehran's atomic activities by a new deadline in late November.

    The office of European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton confirmed Iran and six world powers would hold their first negotiating round since they failed to meet a July 20 target date for an agreement in New York on Sept. 18.

    The deadline was extended until Nov. 24 after six months of talks because wide gaps persisted over the future scope of Iran's uranium enrichment program, which can have both civilian and military applications.

    The six powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain - aim to persuade Iran to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for phasing out sanctions that have severely hurt its oil-dependent economy.

    The election last year of President Hassan Rouhani, widely seen as a pragmatist, raised hopes of a settlement of the standoff after years of soaring tension and fears of a new Middle East war, and an interim accord was reached between Iran and the six powers in Geneva late last year.

    But Western diplomats say the sides remain far apart on what a final deal should look like - especially on the issue of how many enrichment centrifuges Iran can operate - and that a successful outcome in the negotiations is far from guaranteed.

    Accusations

    Western countries suspect Iran's program is aimed at seeking the capability to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran says it is a peaceful project to generate electricity.

    Thursday's meeting in Geneva between senior Iranian and U.S. officials was the second time they held talks in the Swiss city in the past month.

    State news agency IRNA and a U.S. official confirmed the discussions were underway.

    “If there is good will and a constructive approach, we can reach a desired result before Nov. 24,” IRNA quoted Iran's deputy foreign minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi as saying late on Wednesday.

    The United States last week penalized a number of Iranian and other foreign companies, banks and airlines for violating sanctions against Tehran, saying it was sending a signal that there should be no evasion of sanctions while talks continue.

    Rouhani said on Saturday the sanctions were against the spirit of negotiations, but added he was not pessimistic about the viability of the talks.

    Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman were in the U.S. delegation at the Geneva talks, which will last for two days, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

    Negotiations

    Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, one of Iran's chief negotiators, is also at the discussions, which IRNA said would last until Saturday.

    Although the United States is part of the six-power negotiating track, any workable deal will likely have to be based on a bilateral agreement between Washington and Tehran. The United States cut off ties with Iran during a hostage crisis shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

    High-level bilateral meetings between the United States and Iran, virtually unthinkable in years past, have become almost routine on the sidelines of the nuclear talks.

    Ashton's office also confirmed that Iran and France, Britain and Germany would meet in Vienna on Sept. 11. Ashton is the coordinator of contacts with Iran on behalf of the six powers. 

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: IranFail from: USA
    September 04, 2014 11:22 PM
    Clearly Iran will not relinquish its desire to not only expand its refining capacity, but also improve it with next generation centrifuges. While the West wants Iran to downsize from its current 19,000 centrifuge level, Iran has staunchly stated its desire to expand with another 30,000 new centrifuges. Iran can live with most other concessions, because so long as it preserves it refining capacity, it still retains the ability to generate large amounts of weapons grade material quickly. Ultimately this is going to be the Achilles heel of these negotiations and rightly so. As long as Iran stays on this path, the West should resist and not conclude this agreement.

    by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, USA
    September 04, 2014 1:28 PM
    If the Nov. talks beween the P5 plus Germany to succeed with the Iranian govt. relating the Tehran's controversial n-program; not only both the sides should sort out all the plans and modalities but should act in mutual trust and confidence. And, the n-talks and signing agreemnets only relate to the Iranian n-program, not the ongoing crises in the Middle East...... The final deal with the Iranian side must have the very strategic point - technological verifications by the IAEA; and, the strategic curb on the fuel enrichment process.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 '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 New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    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 Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    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 Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    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.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.