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 and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora