News / Middle East

Iran Nuclear Talks Under a Time Pressure

Iran's Ambassador to the IAEA, Reza Najafi (L) and IAEA Deputy Director General, Head of the Department of Safeguards, Tero Tapio Varjoranta talk to the media in Vienna, Austria, Oct. 29, 2013.
Iran's Ambassador to the IAEA, Reza Najafi (L) and IAEA Deputy Director General, Head of the Department of Safeguards, Tero Tapio Varjoranta talk to the media in Vienna, Austria, Oct. 29, 2013.
Al Pessin
— A senior U.S. official in Geneva has expressed optimism about the talks on Iran's nuclear program that resume there on Thursday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters there have been "very detailed discussions" and the two sides are heading towards a first stage agreement. The United Nations contact group and Iran are working on mutual first steps toward stopping aspects of Iran's nuclear program and easing international sanctions.

The first round of talks, just three weeks ago, was praised by both sides for having a new atmosphere and for a potentially useful new Iranian proposal. With a total of seven nations and the European Union sending delegations to the talks, no one provided details on the proposal, which negotiators said was a sign of the seriousness of the discussions.

From what little is known, Iran wants to agree on the ultimate target of the talks and also on a series of intermediate steps designed to build mutual trust and ease economic sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.

The United Nations delegation - made up of the five permanent Security Council members and Germany, and led by the EU - wants guarantees that Iran's nuclear program will not lead to the production of a nuclear bomb.

Analysts believe Iran is already dangerously close to doing that, and the United States and Israel have threatened military action to stop the potential final stages of development.

Key questions include whether Iran will provide enough transparency and accept enough restrictions on its nuclear program to satisfy the U.N. team, and whether the international community will ease sanctions quickly enough to satisfy hardliners in Iran.

Many experts are skeptical, but in an interview, the chief U.S. negotiator, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, told VOA's Persian News Network she saw “a very different approach” in the last round of talks.

“We are beginning to understand each other, to see each other’s needs and the aspirations of the people of each of our countries. And I think that’s very valuable," said Sherman.

Sherman says there are other issues on which the United States and Iran can work together but only after the nuclear dispute is resolved. Analysts say potentially chief among those issues is the Syrian civil war.

In this week's talks, the negotiators will review the results of a technical meeting last week, intended to clarify some aspects of the Iranian proposal. The topics are extremely technical, involving levels of enrichment of nuclear fuel and the eventual unraveling of complex sanctions.

One achievement of the new approach has been a reduction in talk of an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Iran has slowed its enrichment and research activities, but Professor Alexandre Vautravers of the Geneva Center for Security Policy says talk of war will return if these negotiations do not make significant progress fairly quickly.

“The greatest risk is slowing down the process or stalling the process, because, let’s be very clear, we’re talking on a window of opportunity.  This window of opportunity may all of a sudden close.  We have to be cognizant and aware of this time factor, which is extremely critical," said Vautravers.

The negotiators know they are under time pressure and both sides say they are ready to move quickly. The first meeting, last month, was important for starting a new process. This one could indicate whether real progress is possible.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
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 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 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.

AppleAndroid