News / Middle East

    Ministers Press Iran on Nuclear Program

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks to the media on his way to a meeting at a hotel in Vienna, July 13, 2014.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks to the media on his way to a meeting at a hotel in Vienna, July 13, 2014.
    Al Pessin

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and three of his European counterparts have joined talks in Vienna to press Iran for more concessions on its nuclear program, as next Sunday’s deadline looms.

    Secretary Kerry flew into Vienna overnight from Afghanistan to join the discussions and meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.  Kerry arrived shortly after a senior U.S. official involved in the talks told reporters some of Iran’s positions are “inadequate and unworkable.”
     
    Officials say an agreement on long-term limits on Iran’s nuclear program and an end to international economic sanctions is 70 percent finished, but that significant gaps remain on key issues.  Those are believed to include how much capacity Iran will retain to enrich uranium, a potential fuel for nuclear bombs, and how long the restrictions will last.  
     
    Arriving for the talks Sunday morning, Secretary Kerry described the situation this way.
     
    “Obviously we have some very significant gaps still.  So we need to see if we can make some progress and I really look forward to a very substantive and important set of meetings and dialogues.  This is a very important subject.  It is vital to make certain that Iran is not going to develop a nuclear weapon, that their program is peaceful,” he said.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called for good faith on both sides in the negotiations, saying that "trust is a two-way street."
     
    The U.N. Security Council deputized its five permanent members - the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China - plus Germany to negotiate with Iran on measures to guarantee that its nuclear program is purely peaceful, as Iran says it is.
     
    But Iran has violated past agreements on the nuclear program, ignored resolutions from the Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and pursued secret military nuclear research.  
     
    So the international community wants strict, verifiable controls to ensure that if Iran does decide to build a nuclear bomb, the project could not be kept secret and would take a year or more.  That would provide time for diplomatic or, potentially, military moves to stop it.
     
    Iran expert Matthew Moran of London’s King’s College says the experience of past failed agreements with Iran is an important factor in these talks.
     
    “The international community has learned a lot from its past experience of negotiating with Iran.  So, there is pressure to reach agreement, but I don’t think that an agreement will be rushed.  We’re talking about a lasting solution to one of the key problems on the international security agenda.  And that’s not something that can be taken lightly,” said Moran.

    These talks follow a preliminary agreement reached in December that resulted in some rollbacks of Iran’s nuclear program in return for limited relief from economic sanctions.  The two sides agreed to negotiate a comprehensive agreement within six months, giving themselves a July 20th deadline.  They also provided the option of extending the preliminary accord for a further six months to allow more time to settle disagreements.
     
    But an extension also creates problems.  Officials are concerned that momentum toward an agreement could be lost, that international sanctions could weaken and that U.S. congressional elections in November could make it harder to get sanctions relief approved.  In addition, Iran has indicated that it wants more easing of sanctions as part of any extension, something U.S. officials say they are not willing to provide.
     
    Last year, it took two interventions by foreign ministers to finalize the preliminary agreement.  This is their first visit to these talks, and the Russian and Chinese ministers were not able to get here.  So, the ministers could be back again next weekend for a final push.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Nguyễn Văn Ry from: Giao Thủy , Việt nam
    July 13, 2014 9:27 AM
    I think Iran should consider practically thier policy on the nuclear programe. It may not the best policy to protect themselves

    by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, Texas
    July 13, 2014 8:16 AM
    Really, the very outcome of the Iranian n-talk remains bleak despite sanctions and the talks so far. World does not accept the Iranian n - program as a civiliian one; while, on the other, the Iranian govt. says that is a civil nuclear program, not meant for weapons production. The gap of understanding remains here to be abridged......... and, that yet to materialise between Iran and the world powers. Before the Iranians had started running their own enrichment program, during the Bush administration, president Putin was counseled - all the n - fuel rods should reach Iran from Moscow in number count for the Iranian n - power plants, after exustions, all that should be returned to Moscow. During the presidentship of Mohammed Ahmedinejad, two rounds of talks were held in Moscow. But later, the talks were stopped. Then , the PRC, Russia and ours had joined France, Germany and the UK.
    While the Vienna talks starts now - a foreign ministerial summit along with Iran for breaking over a decade of deadlock, the very keenness of the foreign ministers of Big Five and Germany remains in the Iranian centrifuges............it is admittable ..... it is a scientific way to keeping the Iranian n - enrichment process below the threshold of making weapons grade fissile materials. At same time, caution should be - what sort of isotops that the Iranians do make which can be converted into fissile grade once again? Most certainly, the Vienna based IAEA would be the watchdog of the Iranian n - programe....... all the nuclear facilities.
    Besides moving in the centrifuge strategy, the top powers could have taken Iran on the way of signing the specific n - non- proliferation treaties; NPT, CTBT and the FMCT. It is admittable while the Big Powers do wriggle still on the centrifuge mechanism, the latter process of signing three treaties with the Iranian govt. would be more difficult process. But caution is there, amongst the currently existing number of n-states (having n- arsenals), if Iran would add itself to this band, one more n-equation, first of its kind, would be added onto the existing ones in this planet; viz, Iran vs Israel. .......... First, the Iranians should officially move in the non- proliferation regime in a technologically verifiable manner, then only, all the sanctions should be lifted which have been stringently biting their economy for last some years. No concessions on the nuclear non- proliferation in perview of peace in the Middle East and entire world.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora