News / Middle East

New Talks Loom Over Iran's Nuclear Program

New Talks Loom Over Iran's Controversial Nuclear Programi
January 10, 2013 8:56 PM
With a looming threat from Israel of military action against Iran, VOA's Al Pessin reports from London that Iranian and international diplomats are expected to try again in coming weeks after a seven-month hiatus to open negotiations over Iran's controversial nuclear program. Iran and the international contact group have starkly opposite opening positions ahead of the talks.
Al Pessin
With a looming threat from Israel of military action against Iran, Iranian and international diplomats are expected to try again in coming weeks after a seven-month hiatus to open negotiations over Iran's controversial nuclear program. Iran and the international contact group have starkly opposite opening positions ahead of the talks.

The last time Iran's nuclear negotiators met with their foreign counterparts, in Moscow in June, the talks did not go well. Both sides wanted their maximum demands met, and offered little in return.

While Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, there is international concern Iran is moving closer to building a nuclear bomb.  

So the aim of the five United Nations permanent Security Council members and Germany is to persuade Iran to end its enrichment of uranium to near weapons grade in return for an easing of economic sanctions. Iran wants the sanctions lifted completely in return for small concessions on the nuclear program.

"The only prospect for some sort of breakthrough arrives if we meet somewhere in the middle," said research fellow Shashank Joshi at London's Royal United Services Institute.

"It broadly requires the West to offer sanctions relief, although of a limited kind, not completely lifting sanctions, doing so in an incremental, careful and reversible way, of course; and for Iran not to abandon enrichment but to place important limits on how and where it does it," he added.

Analysts say political leaders on both sides are reluctant to be seen as weak, however, on what has become a matter of pride and national security. Experts say that means reaching some sort of compromise will be difficult.

Still, Mark Fitzpatrick, who directs the non-proliferation program at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies, said Iran's leaders are under increasing pressure to ease the growing pain caused by the sanctions.

"The pressure that's on the leadership is more in the form of internal discussions about 'isn't it time to readdress the question' because the entrepreneurs, the businessmen, they are hurting. And many of them are making it known that it's time to reconsider," said Fitzpatrick.

A slowdown of Iran's nuclear fuel enrichment program in the second half of last year eased concerns of a possible American or Israeli airstrike, but analysts believe Iran could soon resume the work, and may have done so already.

So with military action again a concern, the two sides are expected to try again at the negotiating table. But experts are not convinced that they are ready for the kind of compromise that could ease the tension long term, and end the talk of attacks.

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Comment Sorting
by: Robert from: USA
January 11, 2013 5:07 PM
Don't forget Iran's terrorist proxy, Hezbollah. Iran's nuclear facilities will produce tons of high-grade plutonium residue, perfect for a super-dirty radioactive bomb to be detonated within the U.S., Israel, or Europe. I wrote an article about this and offer it free to VOA readers. Robert at Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) News.

by: Allen Pakzad
January 11, 2013 1:51 AM
No progress in that negotiations

by: Vinayprasad from: India
January 10, 2013 11:18 PM
The article has many times repeated the possibility of a military strike on Iran. Now here are the consequences which are not thought of: a) The American (including author of the article), European, Chinese, Indian, man on the street will pay $15 for a gallon of gasoline. No end in sight for lowering in prices. Chaos/hyperinflation all over the world. Strategic reserves wont help. President of the United States will be overthrown. Alternatively the President who is also Commander in Chief will seize power and declare himself as a military dictator (this is not a fantasy, it will happen) b) A million Osama bin Ladens will spawn from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Saudi and other countries and the Americans will spend the rest of their careers defending themselves/ fighting against these guys which will be futile. c) The people of Egypt will close the Suez canal. (the "western allies" will not be able to force open the Suez. America will be on tenterhooks because China will have expansion program in the Pacific. And California has to be defended). Europe will choke due to the Suez closure. Taking a cue from a closed Suez canal, Russia (near monopoly supplier) will hike the price of natural gas exports to Europe by 10 times. They have done this to Ukraine earlier. Russia will force Azerbaijan to close the Baku Tiblisi Ceyan pipeline. Europe will be dead. Russia will invade Europe. d) Iran's retaliation will be terrible. Besides inflicting destruction on petroleum assets in the ME, it could down hundreds of enemy passenger civilian airliners in the ME. Even today daily there are over 30 American passenger airliners passing over its airspace. And America has already set the ball rolling in 1988. e) Regarding viability & sustainability of Israel, you judge.

Any talk of war with Iran is A BIG BIG UNASHAMED BLUFF, BOGUS, HUMBUG. It is only promoted by armchair journalists, fraudsters, conmasters, some politicians. Not by the western military. There will be no war with Iran even in the future. Even if Iran develops the bombs. Iran might already have the bombs - from next door Pakistan. Which is why there THERE IS NO ATTACK EVEN TODAY. The world is too much entwined / interdependent on each other in trade and technology. And smaller countries like Iran are not afraid of "world powers" anymore. Lastly, even if by the remotest chance if Israel defies the world and launches an attack, It will be the United States, which will bomb Israeli (yes Israeli) military infrastructure moments before the strike, because this will be the safest way to avoid a world war.

by: George from: USA
January 10, 2013 5:45 PM
All these articles repeating the same tired old stories are getting tiresome. The West is just playing games with Iran and its goals are to destroy the Iranian economy and to humiliate Iran.

The U.S. in particular has nothing to offer to Iran in return for its demands since American sanctions are codified in laws that Congress will never repeal. So, what is the point of negotiations?

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