News / Middle East

Kerry Going to Geneva for Iran Nuclear Talks

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, attends talks on Iran's nuclear program in Geneva on Nov. 22, 2013.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, attends talks on Iran's nuclear program in Geneva on Nov. 22, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling to Geneva amid signs of progress in talks to limit Iran's nuclear program.  One of the biggest obstacles has been Iran's claimed right to enrich uranium.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says Secretary Kerry is going to Geneva "with the goal of continuing to help narrow the differences and move closer to an agreement."

Among those differences is Iran's long-held insistence that the international community recognize its "right" to enrich uranium, an obstacle that blocked agreement on a deal earlier this month.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif this week appeared to indicate that the wording of an agreement to suspend Iran's nuclear program need not explicitly guarantee that right, but would be understood as part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But that 1968 treaty does not specifically mention enrichment, guaranteeing instead only a nation's right to a peaceful nuclear program within inspection regimes established by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Kerry says there is no question of a country's enrichment "rights."

"Whatever a country decides or doesn't decide to do or is allowed to do, permitted under the rules depends on a negotiation, depends on a process," said Kerry.

And those are not the negotiations under way in Geneva to take a so-called "first step" toward ensuring Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.  So, Kerry says there is no talk of whether Iran might ultimately retain some level of enrichment.

"That certainly will not be resolved in any first step, I can assure you," he said.

Speaking to reporters this week following talks with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Kerry said uranium enrichment under the non-proliferation treaty "depends on the standing of that particular nation" with respect to existing international obligations.

Bishop said Iran is not yet at that stage.

"We're not at a stage where Iran has convinced us that its use is for peaceful civilian purposes.  Should it get to that point, then of course the appropriate international safeguards and protocols would apply as they would to any other country in that situation," said Bishop.

Nuclear negotiators are especially concerned about Iran's enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, which is just a few steps short of weapons-grade levels.  Throughout this process, Iran has maintained that it has no intention of developing an atomic bomb but needs to maintain domestic uranium enrichment for scientific research.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid