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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid