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

Somalia: No Popular Elections in 2016

In interview Wednesday with VOA, President Mohamud says 'one person, one vote' elections will not be possible due to continuing insecurity More

Scientists Predict Climate Change Will Increase Child Malnutrition

Public health expert in Germany says that by 2050, 25 million more children's lives will be put at risk because of lack of nutrients tied to climate change More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs