News / Middle East

New Approach Creates Optimism About Iran Talks

New Approach Creates Optimism About Iran Talksi
X
September 27, 2013 12:11 PM
Conciliatory statements by U.S. and Iranian leaders at the United Nations this week, a historic ministerial meeting and an agreement between key U.N. countries and Iran to resume detailed talks on its nuclear program next month have raised hopes of progress after years of stalemate. As VOA’s Al Pessin reports, expert Iran-watchers in London believe the situation is fundamentally different now than it was when the last round of diplomacy failed earlier this year.

New Approach Creates Optimism About Iran Talks

Al Pessin
Conciliatory statements by U.S. and Iranian leaders at the United Nations this week, a historic ministerial meeting and an agreement between key U.N. countries and Iran to resume detailed talks on its nuclear program next month raise hopes of progress after years of stalemate. Expert Iran-watchers in London believe the situation is fundamentally different now than it was when the last round of diplomacy failed earlier this year.

It was the first formal meeting involving a U.S. secretary of state and an Iranian foreign minister since the Islamic Revolution 34 years ago.  And the group session was followed by a one-on-one.

“All of us were pleased that Foreign Minister Zarif came and made a presentation to us which was very different in tone and very different in the vision that he held out with respect to the possibilities of the future," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters.

“We stressed underneath to continue these discussions, to give it the political impetus that it requires,” added Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister.

Recent Developments:

2012
  • January:  IAEA confirms Iran is refining uranium to 20 percent fissile purity.
  • February:  U.N. inspectors end talks in Tehran without inspecting disputed military site at Parchin.
  • April:  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vows Iran will not surrender its nuclear rights.
  • May:  U.N. inspectors report they found find traces significantly upgraded uranium at an Iranian site.
  • July:  EU begins total ban on Iranian oil imports, US expands sanctions.
  • September:  IAEA demands access to Parchin, Iran calls EU sanctions "irresponsible."
  • December:  IAEA says it makes progress in talks with Iran.  US imposes more sanctions.
     
2013
  • January:  Iran says it will speed up nuclear fuel work.
  • February: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejects direct nuclear talks with the U.S. Iran and world powers meet, agree to more talks.
  • May: IAEA says Iran has expanded nuclear activity.
  • September: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran will not seek weapons of mass destruction.  Iran and world powers agree to resume nuclear talks.
The goal is a process that leads to international confidence that Iran is not moving to build a nuclear weapon, and the removal of crippling economic sanctions.

Middle East Policy Professor Rosemary Hollis at City University London believes the outlines of a settlement are well-known, and might now be achievable.

“We’ve got a potential breakthrough on the P5+1 talks with Iran.  Rouhani is a completely different character and, albeit only for a window of opportunity, not indefinitely - he has the backing of the Supreme Leader to see if he can make his kind of diplomacy work," Hollis said.

Still, as he moved through the corridors of the United Nations, the new Iranian president chose to meet with various foreign leaders but not the U.S. president.

Experts say, even with the backing of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a mandate from the voters, the Iranian president cannot move as quickly with the United States as he can with European countries.  

That leads Mark Fitzpatrick of London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies to conclude that any progress in negotiations will be incremental.

“I don’t expect that there will be a comprehensive agreement," he said. "Whatever agreements are reached are probably going to be confidence-building steps.  But having it at this level sends a sign of seriousness on both sides.”

Experts say that seriousness comes from several factors, including the U.N. economic sanctions against Iran, the continuing threat of an attack on Iran if it gets too close to being able to build a nuclear weapon, and the election of President Rouhani, a far more pragmatic figure than his predecessor.  

A former British ambassador to Iran, Richard Dalton, said there is another very simple reason:

“Common both to Iran and the United States is the growing realization that the tactics they have used to obtain their national interests have largely failed,” Dalton said.

Dalton added that the deadlock of recent years has not brought the West any closer to the guarantees it wants on Iran’s nuclear program, and has not brought Iran any closer to the security, prosperity and respect that it wants.  He and the other analysts hope that is enough motivation for serious movement toward a deal.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid