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

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid