News / Middle East

No Breakthrough in Key Iran Nuclear Talks

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) at talks between the foreign ministers of the six powers negotiating with Tehran on its nuclear program in Vienna, July 13, 2014.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) at talks between the foreign ministers of the six powers negotiating with Tehran on its nuclear program in Vienna, July 13, 2014.
Al Pessin

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and three European foreign ministers failed to achieve a breakthrough in nuclear talks with Iran’s foreign minister Sunday in Vienna.  Working-level talks will continue, but the two sides remain far apart on central issues.
 
There was a day-long series of meetings before the key session between Secretary Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif Sunday night.  After nearly two hours, Kerry emerged without comment, providing no update to earlier comments by British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

“There has been no breakthrough in these talks today, but it has been important, I think, for the ministers to come together and discuss the issues. We will leave our officials here to continue this over the coming days.”

Kerry’s message to his Iranian counterpart was believed to be the same as was conveyed by the British, German and French ministers, that Iran must limit its nuclear enrichment in order to convince the international community that it is not trying to build a nuclear bomb.
 
Minister Zarif has said in interviews, and other senior Iranian officials have repeated, that Iran wants to maintain a significant nuclear program, and that international inspections should be enough to satisfy the world that it is purely peaceful.
 
That has emerged as the main issue still in dispute, along with how long any restrictions would apply. Before Kerry arrived, a senior U.S. official involved in the talks said some of Iran’s positions are “inadequate and unworkable.”  Kerry said there still are “significant gaps.”
 
Working-level negotiators will continue their talks during the coming week, toward a deadline of next Sunday.  But without a breakthrough at the senior level, there is little hope that an accord can be finalized.  Iran and the six countries representing the United Nations could agree to extend the deadline, but officials will not even talk about that for now.
 
If the negotiations break down, there will be moves to further tighten international economic sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy, and Iran likely would forge ahead with its nuclear program. That would increase concerns that it could produce enough nuclear material for a weapon and could trigger military action.

Verifiable controls

The United Nations Security Council deputized its five permanent members - the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China - plus Germany to negotiate with Iran on measures to guarantee that its nuclear program is purely peaceful, as Iran says it is.
 
But Iran has violated past agreements on the nuclear program, ignored resolutions from the Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and pursued secret military nuclear research.  
 
So the international community wants strict, verifiable controls to ensure that if Iran does decide to build a nuclear bomb, the project could not be kept secret, and would take a year or more.  That would provide time for diplomatic or, potentially, military moves to stop it.
 
These talks follow a preliminary agreement reached in December that resulted in some rollbacks of Iran’s nuclear program in return for limited relief of economic sanctions.  That generated some optimism that a full accord could be reached.  But Iran expert Matthew Moran of London’s King’s College says there never was a guarantee.
 
“Great steps were made with the Joint Plan of Action.  But none of the measures agreed they were irreversible.  So, these could be reversed and it could fall apart,” said Moran.

The two sides agreed to negotiate a comprehensive agreement within six months, giving themselves a July 20 deadline.
 
Even if they agree on an extension, they face additional problems.  Officials are concerned that momentum toward an agreement could be lost, that international sanctions could weaken and that U.S. congressional elections in November could make it harder to get sanctions relief approved.  In addition, Iran has indicated that it wants more easing of sanctions as part of any extension, something U.S. officials say they are not willing to provide.
 
Last year, it took two interventions by foreign ministers to finalize the preliminary agreement.  This is their first visit to these talks, and the Russian and Chinese ministers were unable to get here.  So, the ministers could be back again next weekend for a final push.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ThoughtProvoking from: Arizona
July 13, 2014 5:35 PM
Another governemnt playing Obama for the sucker! Didn't we warn him?!!!!!!!!
In Response

by: Eric L from: New Jersey
July 13, 2014 11:30 PM
For real? One of the worst kept secrets in the world is the one nuclear power of the MidEast- Israel. Why can't Iran and Israel have peaceful talent and tech sharing and end this opacity charade. The distrust has to end - the region is a disaster.

Recognize this is a bigger issue than one man in the White House.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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 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.

VOA Blogs

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