News / Middle East

    Nuclear Talks Begin, Iran Wants Sanctions Lifted

    EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, left, and chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, right, meet in Moscow, on Monday, June 18, 2012, before the start of the high-stakes talks on the controversial Iranian nuclear program.
    EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, left, and chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, right, meet in Moscow, on Monday, June 18, 2012, before the start of the high-stakes talks on the controversial Iranian nuclear program.
    James Brooke
    MOSCOW - With Iran facing new oil export sanctions in less than two weeks, talks over Tehran's nuclear program opened on Monday in Moscow with a new spirit of urgency.

    Iran immediately asked Western nations to ease sanctions as a precondition to stopping its nuclear enrichment project. The demand was made to representatives of the five permanent member nations of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany. They met with Iranian negotiators in the third effort in three months to try to persuade Tehran to drop plans to enrich uranium to 20 percent.

    Iran says it needs enriched uranium for medical and energy needs. The international community says it would put Iran on a fast track to making a nuclear bomb.

    After the first day of talks, EU foreign policy spokesman Michael Mann said, "The first step is to have the Iranians engage on 20 percent," adding that "new sanctions will come into force on July 1. And, as a general rule, sanctions can always be reviewed. But they can only be reviewed in response to concrete actions on the ground."

    A first round of U.S.-led sanctions has cut Iran's oil exports nearly in half this year. And European sanctions are set to further cut Iran's oil revenues. On July 1, EU countries will be banned from buying Iranian oil, and EU companies will be banned from insuring Iran oil cargoes.

    Western diplomats say the Iranian government is starting to feel the effects of these sanctions. The proof, they say, is Iran's demand to lift them.

    After Tehran's initial demand on Monday to end the sanctions, negotiations turned to point-by-point discussions. At the end of the day, Iranian spokesman Ali Bagheri told reporters that the talks were "constructive and serious."

    EU spokesman Mann used similar language.

    "It was a tough negotiation. It was frank, businesslike. That's what it was about," he said. "It was about having serious discussions about serious issues."

    Russia's spokesman said that a big gap remains between positions, but he described the mood of the talks as "benevolent."

    Analysts say Russian officials would like to see progress made in Moscow to show that Russia is a world power as Vladimir Putin starts his third term as president. The Russians hinted that the Iran nuclear talks might run through Wednesday, an extra day.

    Rajab Safarov, director of the Center for Modern Iran Studies in Moscow, says Western powers will try to make the talks fail to diminish Putin's prestige. Last week, Safarov accompanied Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Tehran to try to make progress on the Iranian nuclear issue.

    For more than a decade, Western nations and Russia have worried that Iran was working to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran's advances in uranium enrichment have eroded Iran's relations with the West.

    The Iranian government has long been a sworn enemy of Israel, and analysts warn that if the nuclear talks here fail, Israel might bomb Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities.

    The day before talks started here, Israel's Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon warned that Israel "could find itself facing the dilemma of a bomb, or to bomb."

    You May Like

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    June 20, 2012 12:12 AM
    There has been enough talk over this, Iran should consider themselves lucky they haven't already been shut down by Nato or even just the United States. Their non negotiations are pathetic, they are actually riding the system. I suggest they either get their crap together or they become disabled. They already broke rules with the IAEA, what do they expect, are we stupid? Either smarten up or the world will slap you in the face. I think we've been trying to bargain with them way too long. It's time you smarten up Iran or face the consequences of the world. What you've done is wrong already, so don't expect us to bend down and help you, you need to help yourselves. The government of Iran is entirely disliked by any Iranians I know that have freedom of speech. Who knows maybe in a year or two the Iranian Government will be overthrown from within because it isn't being a good representitive to the world for the sake of hearts and minds of the Iranian people. If you were upfront and nogitable you'd be respected but because you are playing games you show you are gambling with the future of the Iranian people, the Iranian people don't deserve this type of dictatorship, they deserve a country that is well liked and trusted in the world community.

    by: John Pike from: California
    June 18, 2012 4:32 PM
    It is gratifying to see a conscious effort to negotiate a deal with Iran through diplomacy and not the hawkish demands of certain GOP elements in the USA who would like nothing better than another war. Give peace a chance for a change and work out a diplomatic solution that saves face, encourages better relationships and gives the citizens of USA, Iran and ROW some room for comfort without the threat of another battle!

    by: JohnWV from: USA
    June 18, 2012 4:03 PM
    NO MORE WARS! Israel has ICBM nukes and openly threatens Iran; actually campaigns for war against Iran. Israel, not Iran, is the warmonger. Resolution lies with lifting all sanctions and compensating Iran for damages from the annual $10B we will no longer be giving the Jewish state. American foreign policy must again serve American interests, not the Jewish state's relentless pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and apartheid supremacist empire. NO MORE WARS!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    British Government to Resettle Unaccompanied Child Refugeesi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    May 06, 2016 9:24 PM
    After criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum, the British government has signaled that it will accept thousands of unaccompanied Syrian child refugees who have fled to Europe. It follows a campaign by a group of former Jewish refugees who were given refuge in Britain from Nazi persecution in the 1930s. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video British Government to Resettle Unaccompanied Child Refugees

    After criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum, the British government has signaled that it will accept thousands of unaccompanied Syrian child refugees who have fled to Europe. It follows a campaign by a group of former Jewish refugees who were given refuge in Britain from Nazi persecution in the 1930s. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Strangers Share Secrets Through Postcards

    Frank Warren owns a million secrets. Strangers from around the world send him postcards with their confessions, their disappointments, and their hopes for the future, all anonymously. He displays his favorites online and in exhibits, and shares them with audiences in sold-out appearances around the globe. As VOA's Julie Taboh reports, what started as a simple social experiment has evolved into a multi-faceted and hugely successful global phenomenon.
    Video

    Video Largest Ground-based Telescope Under Construction

    While NASA's engineers are nearing the final phase of assembling the new James Webb space telescope, scheduled to be deployed in 2018, an international consortium led by the U.S. is laying foundations and building parts for a ground-based telescope, much larger than any other. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora