News / Middle East

New Approach Creates Optimism About Iran Talks

New Approach Creates Optimism About Iran Talksi
X
September 27, 2013
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

TEXT SIZE - +
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 Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid