News / Middle East

Iran, World Powers Seek Long-Term Nuclear Deal

Head of the U.S. delegation, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman (R), and an unidentified person leave a hotel in Vienna, Feb. 17, 2014.
Head of the U.S. delegation, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman (R), and an unidentified person leave a hotel in Vienna, Feb. 17, 2014.
Al Pessin
Negotiators from Iran and a group of six world powers are meeting Tuesday in Vienna to discuss a long-term agreement to ensure Iran's nuclear program is peaceful.

Iran says it has no interest in building a nuclear weapon, but the U.N. Security Council and many experts believe it is dangerously close to being able to do so, and wants changes to ensure it cannot.

The highly anticipated talks, which follow an interim deal in November that calls for Iran to cut back its most sensitive nuclear activity in exchange for limited sanctions relief, lasted just 45 minutes. Afterward, officials went into a series of often more productive bi-lateral sessions.

“During these negotiations on the comprehensive agreement, all concerns about the Iranian nuclear program will have to be addressed," said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. "The overall objective remains to seek a comprehensive solution that would ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.”

Ashton, who is leading negotiations for the six world powers — the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany — held a meeting Monday night with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

Despite November's breakthrough negotiations, some officials are giving today's talks no better than an even chance of reaching an accord. On Monday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini said he expects talks to “lead nowhere,” but that he believes effort should continue. President Barack Obama has said he gives the talks no more than a 50-percent chance of success.

New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who has much politically at stake in these talks, wants to deliver an improved economy to the Iranian people, which would require ending economic sanctions via a deal.

But according to nuclear policy expert Mark Hibbs of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, top officials in Tehran may not be comfortable accepting the deep cuts to their nuclear program that the talks are calling for.

“They are going to require Iran to make concessions and commitments over a very long period of time which circumscribe and indeed cut back the scope of the program," said Hibbs.

Mann on Tuesday would not provide details of the talks and did not know what sort of schedule the negotiators would follow. An Iranian official called the morning session a “very good beginning,” but said even deciding on an agenda for the future would be “a lot.”

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior U.S. official who had said he expected today's talks to be “complicated, difficult and lengthy,” said a working relationship has developed with Iranian officials that did not exist before last year’s talks, and that implementation of the interim agreement reached in November is going smoothly.

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Counties Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

This forum has been closed.
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.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs