News / Middle East

Kerry, Ashton Discuss Next Steps in Iran Nuclear Deal, Syria Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a media conference after a meeting NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Dec. 3, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a media conference after a meeting NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Dec. 3, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton met at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss plans for Syrian peace talks and the next steps in a deal to limit Iran's nuclear program. 
 
The more immediate of the two is the upcoming Geneva talks, which aim to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis. With both the government in Damascus and the main rebel coalition now agreeing to attend, remaining obstacles include who else will be invited.
 
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wants Iran to take part, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif has said that Tehran will come if invited. However, the United States and European Union have said Iran must first agree to the foundation of these talks – primarily, that they will name a transitional power with full executive authority, thereby ending President Assad's current tenure.
 
Iran joining talks on Syria may be more likely following last week's deal to limit Iran's nuclear program. In Brussels on Wednesday, Kerry thanked Ashton for her work on that deal.
 
"Her efforts in Geneva with respect to the initial Iran first step have been key. And now we are going to talk about how we proceed to try to move towards the comprehensive agreement as well as some other important issues that we face," said Kerry.
 
Ashton characterized the partnership between the EU and the U.S. as an important one.
 
"The work that we do between the European Union and the U.S. on so many issues, of which Iran is one of the greatest examples but by no means the only example, is crucial. We share the same values. We work together to try and deliver for people across the world," said Ashton.
 
Political directors and technical experts from the United States, Russia, France, China, Germany, and Britain are working with Iran to come to an agreement regarding Iran’s controversial nuclear program. Currently both sides have six months to come to a more comprehensive agreement. During this period, Iran has agreed to eliminate its stockpiles of highly-enriched uranium and stop work on a plutonium reactor in exchange for relief from some international banking and oil sanctions.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid