News / Middle East

Kerry Heads to Geneva with Deal in Sight

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry steps aboard his aircraft after meeting with members of Egypt's government in Cairo, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013.
FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry steps aboard his aircraft after meeting with members of Egypt's government in Cairo, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is going to Geneva on Friday to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on the sideline of talks regarding Iran's nuclear program. The surprise meeting comes amid reported progress on limiting Iran's uranium enrichment in exchange for easing some of the sanctions imposed over concerns about Tehran's atomic ambitions.
 
Kerry and Zarif will meet with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton at a time when an EU spokesman says the talks over Iran's nuclear program are entering "a serious phase."
 
When Kerry and Zarif first met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September, it was the highest-level talks between the United States and Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution. That meeting led to a telephone call between U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
 
A senior administration official traveling with Kerry says he is going to Geneva at Ashton's invitation "to help narrow the differences" in negotiations. Diplomats from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany, the so-called P5+1, are participating in the meetings with Iran. As a member of that group, the senior U.S. official said Kerry is "committed to doing anything he can" to help this "complex process."
 
A different U.S. official said that process is now focused on getting Iran to pause its nuclear program to provide time for talks on a longer-term agreement. In return, the official said, the international community would ease some sanctions.
 
Kerry is going to Switzerland from Israel, where he met again with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday morning. Kerry told President Shimon Peres late Wednesday that "on Iran, our eyes are wide open."
 
"Our hope is that Iran will understand that this is a simple obligation: show the world that you are pursuing a peaceful program. It’s not that hard. Lots of other nations do it. So we will remember our friends and their interests, and we will be very thoughtful and careful as we proceed," said Kerry.
 
Prime Minister Netanyahu questioned Iran's sincerity, and said that international pressure should be increased because, he claims, Iran is increasing the pace of its uranium enrichment. Before his talks with Kerry on Friday, Netanyahu told reporters in Tel Aviv that Iran "got everything and paid nothing" because they are not reducing their nuclear enrichment capability in any way.
 
He said Iran "got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal" that Israel "utterly rejects." Netanyahu said Israel "will do everything it needs to do to defend itself and the security of its people."
 
Israel has long threatened to strike Iran militarily to prevent it from developing an atomic bomb.

In Washington, President Barack Obama said the deal being discussed would offer "modest relief" from the sanctions, but that most would stay in place.
 
"We can provide them some very modest relief, but keeping the sanctions architecture in place, keeping the core sanctions in place, so that if it turned out during the course of the six months, when we're trying to resolve some these bigger issues, that they're backing out of [the] deal or they're not following through on it, or they're not willing to go forward and finish the job of giving us assurances that they're not developing a nuclear weapon, we can crank that dial back up," said Obama.
 
President Obama told NBC News there is a possibility of a phased agreement, the first part of which would stop Iran from further expanding its nuclear program.

Iran claims it has no intention of developing such weapons, but parts of its program go beyond what experts say is needed for nuclear power and research. Some believe Iran could be only months away from producing enough highly enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb.
 
Zarif said last week that Iran's new government is working to dispel those concerns because "even a perception that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons is detrimental" to Iranian security.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More