News / Middle East

Iran Wants Sanctions Relief Amid New Nuclear Talks

Iran Wants Sanctions Relief Amid New Nuclear Talksi
X
October 04, 2013 9:08 PM
World powers and Iran are gearing up for a new round of talks in Geneva later this month about Tehran's nuclear program. The United States and its allies want Iran to take concrete steps to show it is not - and will not - pursue nuclear weapons. But Iran wants crippling international sanctions eased. VOA's Jeff Seldin reports.
World powers and Iran are gearing up for a new round of talks in Geneva later this month about Tehran's nuclear program.  The United States and its allies want Iran to take concrete steps to show it is not and will not pursue nuclear weapons.  But Iran wants crippling international sanctions eased. 

It's been hammered time and time again by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whether on his official Twitter feed or during his speech at the United Nations.  Iran's new president said it's time for economic sanctions to end. "These sanctions are violent, pure and simple," he said.

For the Iranian people, the international sanctions have been devastating.

Iran's currency, the rial, has nose-dived since 2011, losing more than 80 percent of its value compared to the U.S. dollar.

The price of consumer goods has spiked, up about 40 percent. Oil exports have dried up - costing Iran an estimated $100 million a day. And unemployment is rising, some estimates putting the jobless rate for young people at close to 30 percent.

It's all putting pressure on Rouhani to make a deal, said Iran analyst Michael Singh of the Washington Institute. 

“Iran desperately needs sanctions relief.  It’s not going to get better for Iran in a year, for example.  What Rouhani intends to do will be even more necessary in a year than it is today,” he said.

But getting relief will not be easy - a point driven home by U.S. lawmakers at a recent hearing on Iran.

"While we welcome Iran's diplomatic overtures, they cannot be used to buy time," said Senator Robert Menenzez of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

But President Rouhani has repeatedly insisted that Iran retains the right to enrich uranium. 

David Albright, at the Institute for Science and International Security, said that didn't sit well with the U.S. and other major powers. 

“From the Iranian point of view, they may be going through a sticker shock right now.  Those sanctions aren’t coming off anytime soon,” he said.

Which means President Rouhani's biggest challenge may be dealing with everyday Iranians who are feeling increasingly squeezed.

“He [Rouhani] is going to have to decide if he’s going to render himself increasing unpopular with his own people by continuing a nuclear weapons program that has led to great suffering for Iran,” said Michael O'Hanlon at the Brookings Institution.

All of this leaving Iranians desperate for change stuck in a continuing cycle of economic hardship as the Iranian hierarchy decides how to play its next move.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid