News / Middle East

    Iran's Rouhani: Nuclear Deal Possible by July 20

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gestures as he speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, June 14, 2014.
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gestures as he speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, June 14, 2014.
    Reuters
    President Hassan Rouhani urged world powers on Saturday to cut a deal with Iran by a July 20 deadline to end a dispute over its nuclear program, arguing that in any case sanctions meant to restrict its atomic activity have frayed beyond repair.

    He told a news conference in Tehran that the economic curbs had been softened by his government's policy of detente, replacing one of confrontation with the West, and "will not be rebuilt" even if the Islamic Republic and the six big powers fail to reach a final agreement by July 20.

    "The disputes can be resolved with goodwill and flexibility ... I believe that the July 20 deadline can be met despite remaining disputes. If not, we can continue the talks for a month or more," he said.

    "During the nuclear negotiations we have displayed our strong commitment to diplomacy," Rouhani went on, in comments broadcast live on state television. "(But even) if a deal can't be reached by July 20, conditions will never be like the past. The sanctions regime has been broken."

    Iran and the powers will hold another round of talks in Vienna on June 16-20 to tackle a deadlock which has raised the likelihood that the deadline will lapse without a deal meant to head off the risk of a Middle East war over the nuclear issue.

    An outright failure of the faltering talks would strengthen the position of conservative hardliners in Iran's clerical establishment against Rouhani, who has endeavoured to improve relations with the United States. The countries severed ties during a hostage crisis after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

    "The West should use this opportunity to reach a final deal in the remaining weeks. American hawks and Israel will be blamed for (any) failure of the talks," Rouhani said.

    Israel, Iran's regional arch-foe, has cast doubt on whether diplomacy is capable of curbing in Iranian nuclear activity and, if it cannot, has threatened to bomb Iranian nuclear sites. Its scepticism is shared by hawkish supporters in the U.S. Congress.

    The latest round of negotiations in Vienna last month ran into difficulties when it became clear that the number of centrifuge enrichment machines that Iran wanted to maintain was well beyond what would be acceptable to the West.

    Resolution needs goodwill

    Iran says it needs to maintain a domestic uranium enrichment capability to produce fuel for a planned network of nuclear power plants without having to rely on foreign suppliers.

    Wary Western officials believe Iran will need many years to build any nuclear power station and that its underlying goal in enriching uranium is to be able to yield material for nuclear bombs at short notice, an allegation the Islamic state denies.

    Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China set the July 20 deadline to reach a comprehensive agreement in an interim deal they reached in Geneva on Nov. 24.

    The November pact - in which Iran suspended some sensitive nuclear activities in return for limited relief from sanctions - allowed a six-month extension if more time were needed for a final deal. The preliminary accord went into effect on Jan 20.

    It is increasingly improbable that six world powers and Iran will meet the deadline, officials and analysts say.

    While an extension is possible, experts believe both sides may come under pressure from critics at home to seek better terms during this extra period, further clouding the outlook.

    Khamenei weighs in "nuclear rights"

    In another sign of Iranian determination not to negotiate away its enrichment work, a top aide to clerical Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would never renounce its peaceful nuclear rights under pressure.

    “The Islamic Republic of Iran will never be influenced by pressure exerted by others who seek to deprive Iran of its nuclear rights and will never back down from its rights,” Ali Akbar Velayati told the official IRNA news agency.

    The two sides said last month that they had intended to start writing the text of a final agreement but the full-scale drafting did not actually begin.

    Rouhani, a former chief nuclear negotiator for Tehran, said on Saturday that Iran and the powers might start drafting the final agreement in next week's talks.

    "The major powers and Iran have agreed on two issues with Iran: We will continue our uranium enrichment activities and all sanctions on Iran will be lifted," he said, adding that no one would benefit from the collapse of the talks.

    Iran now has about 19,000 centrifuges installed, of which roughly 10,000 are operating, according to the U.N. nuclear watchdog. Enriched uranium can have both civilian and military uses, depending on the degree of refinement.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Iranfail from: USA
    June 16, 2014 4:59 PM
    I think we’re seeing now why a deal with Iran will inevitably fail and that is because the one non-negotiable part for Iran will be its insistence on significantly upgrading and expanding its refining capacity with next generation centrifuges. Zarif and other ranking officials, including Khamenei have drawn a line in the sand at refining capacity because with it, they could afford to give away almost every other concession to the West while still retaining the ability to quickly generate a stockpile of weapons grade material. Iran views this capacity as its trump card against the perceived threat posed by Israel and its final Billy club it can use against its neighbors since possessing the ability to quickly make bomb material is almost as good as the ability to build a bomb since Iran already possesses the technical knowhow to assemble and deliver a weapon thanks to North Korea technology transfers.

    The West knows this which is why it has been insistent about cutting capacity, not expanding it and ultimately is what is causing Iran to issue muted calls for a six month extension in talks beyond the July deadline.

    by: Donald Fraser Miles from: Elliot Lake, Canada
    June 15, 2014 8:08 AM
    Rouhani's leadership is an example of what can be achieved by single individuals. It should be remembered that the body of sub-leaders he governs don't give him unequivocal support. There is still a strong support for nuclear weapons acquisition in Iran. I do think Iran can at the least have its weapons program slowed down. It may be possible to stop it entirely. Rouhani represents a hope for Iranians and non-Iranians for peace. He is telling the West what it wants to hear. He can be held to a position amicable to both Iran and the West through a binding agreement. The creation of a binding agreement on Iran's weapons program will serve the interests of all. If Rouhani and his successors can deliver on peace, they should be entered into an agreement between Iran and the West. I don't consider him to be signing worthless agreements like Hitler did. I do think he wants peace and is willing to make concessions to achieve an economic normalization for Iran.

    by: ADEL ALSHEAR from: NICE FRANCE
    June 15, 2014 4:18 AM
    THIS IS A NO BROTHER HOOD HSNN ALBNA IN BY ALL TIME . THIS IS A NO BSDRAN POLICE MLLAI IRAN IN BY ALL TIME . THIS IS A NO PSEJ POLICE MLALI IRAN IN BY ALL TIME . THIS IS A NO POLICE MLALI IRAN IN BY ALL TIME .
    In Response

    by: behee from: ca.usa
    June 15, 2014 11:35 PM
    I really can not follow your statement, if it is meant to be in code, which it looks like, I have one suggestion for you, we are in year 2014, not 600-700bc. pick up QURAN and read it by yourself and you will see, a moslim means surrender to peace , so do not get excited by bloodthirsty jihad seeker who are only after power and glory and not God.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora