News / Middle East

Negotiations Set to Resume on Iran's Nuclear Program

Meredith Buel

For the first time in more than a year, Iranian negotiators are scheduled to meet next week (December 6th and 7th) with representatives of six world powers in Geneva to discuss concerns about the nation's nuclear program. The Obama administration is still committed to negotiating with Tehran, but some analysts believe chances for a diplomatic breakthrough are slim.

The negotiations will include the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany. The European Union's top foreign policy official, Catherine Ashton, will lead the delegation, while Iran will be represented by its chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Iran's agreement to return to negotiations is encouraging. "This is an opportunity for Iran to come to the table and discuss the matters that are of concern to the international community, first and foremost their nuclear program," she said.

Some officials say the willingness of Iran to engage in talks may be an indication that new and tougher sanctions, approved last June, are having an impact on its troubled economy.

Senior U.S. officials say the sanctions have already cost the Tehran government billions of dollars in energy investments and have left Iran virtually frozen out of the international financial system.

Ambassador Dennis Ross, a Special Assistant to U.S. President Barack Obama, says the administration still wants to engage Iran and resolve differences though diplomacy. "Now is the time for Iran to be ready to talk seriously, we are. Now is the time for Iran to respect its own people and to restore the respect of the international community. Now is the time for Iran to signal its goodwill and if it does that, it will find that its goodwill is be matched by ours," he said.

A major issue facing negotiators is whether to revive a proposal made last year for the United States, Russia and France to assist Iran in getting new fuel for a medical research reactor.

The plan would require Iran to ship out a large percentage of its low enriched uranium in exchange for nuclear fuel to produce medical isotopes for cancer patients.

That deal fell apart and Robin Wright, a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, says there is mounting concern about Iran's nuclear program. "The talks come at a time of unprecedented international frustration over Iran's nuclear program and the failure of Iran after many years to fully comply with the international community, with the UN watchdog agency (International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA), and reassure the international community of its claim that its intentions are only peaceful."

The U.S. and some of its allies believe Iran is using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran denies this, saying it is enriching uranium to produce nuclear fuel.

Some recently released U.S. diplomatic cables by the WikiLeaks website highlight a growing anxiety among Arab nations about Iran's nuclear program.

Some Arab leaders are quoted as urging the United States to use military force to destroy the facilities.

Karim Sadjadpour, who is an associate with the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says the leaked documents add to the lack of trust between Iran and the United States. "Within Iran there is even a greater sense of suspicion about U.S. intentions in the aftermath of these WikiLeaks, which they view as kind of a concerted, concocted policy of the CIA. I would argue, probably, that the likelihood of some type of diplomatic breakthrough is very, very slim," he said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has dismissed the documents as American psychological warfare and says his country's relations with its neighbors will not be hurt by the leaks.

Alireza Nader, an international policy analyst at the Rand Corporation, specializes in Iran's political dynamics.

Nader says there is significant doubt that those who hold power in Iran will support any agreement talks might produce on the country's nuclear program. "I think the key question is whether the Islamic Republic is serious about any sort of engagement. If you look at Iran's leadership, including (Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei and the top echelon of the Revolutionary Guards, any sort of opening to the United States poses an ideological, political and economic threat to those ruling the regime. So we have to ask if the Iranian government ever went into negotiations with any consideration of resolving the issue."

Mr. Ahmadinejad says his country is ready to hold talks, but will not make concessions about its right to a nuclear program.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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