News / Middle East

Progress Slows on Iran Nuclear Talks

'Substantial,' 'Detailed' Iran Nuclear Talks on Day Twoi
X
November 21, 2013 10:12 PM
The European Union spokesman says there were substantive meetings on the second day of a key round of talks on Iran's nuclear program, but there is still no agreement on first steps to curb the program in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions. The talks were continuing Thursday night and are expected to resume Friday. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from Geneva.

Watch related video report

Al Pessin
— Iran and six world powers entered a crucial third day of talks Friday in Geneva, where they will try to close gaps on a proposed interim deal that would curb Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Diplomats from both sides reported some progress following Thursday's session, but said substantial disagreements remain. The key sticking point appears to be to what extent Iran will be allowed to enrich uranium, participants said. Another is how much the sanctions will be relaxed.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Catherine Ashton, the European Union's top diplomat, have met repeatedly since Wednesday to work out differences.

The two talked on Friday. The morning negotiating session was not followed by the usual tidbits from Ashton's spokesman. Instead of characterizing the talks as "substantial" or "intense" as he did on Thursday, Michael Mann simply said they had ended, after about two hours.



Iran continues demands

Iran's official IRNA news agency, quoting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi in Geneva, repeated on Friday Iran's insistence that it retain the right to enrich uranium, a process that yields materials both for bombs and civil nuclear power generation.  

Tehran denies it wants to build a nuclear weapon. It has offered to suspend parts of its nuclear program and agreed to tighter inspections if the West relaxes sanctions that have devastated its economy.

In an interview with Germany's ARD television, Mann said the negotiators need to reach a “sustainable” and “verifiable” agreement.

“We're always trying to be optimistic, but of course caution is necessary. I know I'm being very non-committal here, but in such a technical negotiation, such an important negotiation, it's best to be cautious," Mann said.

After the Friday morning meeting, Ashton briefed the delegations from the six nations representing the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany. A U.S. official said the delegations then contacted their capitals for consultations.

Talks appear strained

The tone and sequence of events suggests that the talks continue to be difficult.

The two sides are seeking an initial agreement that would then leave six months to negotiate a more extensive deal to guarantee that the Iranian program is purely peaceful, as Iran claims, and to end all nuclear-related sanctions.

A former British ambassador to Iran, Richard Dalton, said both sides have a huge stake in reaching an agreement, and failure this week would be a serious setback.

“It would be extremely unfortunate, because as we've seen between second and third rounds both sides seem to have toughened up their position in some respects," he said. "So, if we see a failure now, it won't be any easier to find compromises.”

Dalton said the negotiators may have to try for a more limited first-stage accord if their current effort fails.

Meanwhile, there were reports that foreign ministers from the contact group, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, might fly in and join the talks, extending them beyond their scheduled end Friday night.

The ministers did that during the last round of talks two weeks ago, but were not able to forge a deal.

If there is no agreement during this round, the negotiators are expected to gather again next month. There is pressure on both sides to take the first steps toward ending the nuclear dispute as soon as possible.

In Iran, hardliners are eager to declare the failure of the relatively moderate government that was elected in June with a mandate to seek an end to the sanctions.

And in the United States, a key member of the contact group, some members of Congress want to add sanctions to force Iran to make more concessions, a move the Obama administration says could kill any chance of a peaceful resolution to the dispute.



You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
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 China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
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 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.

AppleAndroid