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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid