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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid