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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
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 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 US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
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.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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