News / Middle East

Officials Optimistic as Iran Nuclear Talks Enter Second Day

In this photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader's office on Nov. 20, 2013, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech to members of the paramilitary Basij force in Tehran.
In this photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader's office on Nov. 20, 2013, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech to members of the paramilitary Basij force in Tehran.
Al Pessin
Iranian and international negotiators will continue a key series of meetings on Thursday that officials say could lead to the first steps toward guaranteeing that Iran's nuclear program is purely peaceful, as it claims, and toward easing economic sanctions.
 
Wednesday's first meeting of the full group was only 45 minutes long, but officials say that was the plan, and bilateral meetings were to continue well into the night.
 
This is the third time in five weeks that the negotiators from Iran's new government and the six-nation contact group have met.
 
Last time, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticized the U.N. negotiators for changing course, a move widely attributed to French insistence on some key points. But during a stop in Italy on his way here, Zarif expressed optimism for this round.
 
“I go to Geneva with the determination to come out with an agreement at the end of this round," he said. "I'm sure that, with the necessary political will, we can certainly make progress and even reach an agreement.”
 
But Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei caused some concern in a speech on Wednesday, saying Iran “will not step back one iota” from what he called its “rights,” an apparent reference to its claim to a right to enrich uranium, which the United States says does not exist for any country.
 
In an Internet video released on Tuesday, however, Zarif had a line that gave some analysts hope for a solution to that dispute.
 
“Rights are not granted," he said. "Since they are not granted, they cannot be seized.”
 
That could imply that Iran will not insist on an explicit acknowledgment of a right to enrich, as long as any agreement does not prevent it from enriching. And a senior U.S. official in Geneva says negotiators can “navigate” the issue.
 
Middle East analyst Alison Baily at the British consulting firm Oxford Analytica says Iran's new government needs sanctions relief to fulfill its campaign promises, but it has to be careful.
 
“It cannot be seen to cave in to pressure from the international community," she said. "So it has to really find a formula which allows it to roll back sanctions but at the same time save face.”
 
Uranium enrichment is important for generating power and for medical research, two things Iran says it wants to do with its nuclear program. But taken to the extreme, enrichment can create weapons-grade uranium. Iran has come close to producing that, and built extensive, secure and previously secret enrichment facilities, raising fears it wants to build a nuclear bomb, although Iranian officials say they have no such intention.
 
Those fears resulted in severe international economic sanctions intended to convince Iran's government to negotiate an end to that part of its nuclear program, and allow inspections to prove it. The hardship caused by the sanctions was a key issue in June, when Iranian voters elected the relatively moderate government that is now pursuing negotiations.
 
The immediate goal is a first-stage accord that officials say would freeze Iran's program, and roll back parts of it, in return for limited sanctions relief. That would probably involve the release of some Iranian money held in international banks, but not any easing of trade embargoes or banking restrictions.
 
Then, negotiations would begin, on an expected six-month timetable, to try to reach a full agreement to verifiably limit Iran's nuclear program and gradually end all sanctions.
 
If the negotiations fail, there is a danger that Iran will come so close to being able to build a nuclear bomb that the United States or Israel will decide to take military action to prevent the final steps.
 
But that could trigger a regional war, and experts say would only delay Iran's program, not end it.
 
This week's talks involve the Iranian foreign minister and the European Union's foreign policy chief, along with senior officials of Germany and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.

You May Like

Multimedia Ferguson Grand Jury Reaches Decision

Missourians tensely await ruling on whether white police officer will be indicted in shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Corruption Fighters Want More From World’s Strongest Nations

Anti-corruption activists say final communique fell short of expectations and failed to fully address systemic problems More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Raad from: London
November 21, 2013 7:26 PM
Jane S from USA - "whose avowed aim is the slaughter of all Sunnis in the Middle East" - do you have any evidence for this statement?
Malignant - what does it mean in this context?
Theocratic Fascism - last election, 72% participation, >50% voted for Rohani. What is fascistic about this please?
You use big words to hide your ignorance - people see through you.


by: Ali P. from: Iran
November 21, 2013 5:22 AM
well, by now, even a fool like Kerry must understand that these are just repetitions of demands by a malignant Iranian regime. and no responsible Government should be that eager to surrender their security to these revolting Iranian mullahs.


by: chukwuemeka Ukor from: lagos,Nigeria.
November 21, 2013 3:35 AM
Those guys at genevà convention will not allow Iran develops any nuclear arsenals.but if they insist they must do it as they it is their right then those ònes they have built already must be destroy outrightly without wasting time.i want a peaceful region along that axis.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
November 20, 2013 8:47 PM
The United States says right to enrich uranium does not exist for any country. Is it true? Does US also not have the right?

In Response

by: Jane S. from: USA
November 20, 2013 11:07 PM
Yoshi, don't be idiot... in this particular case of malignant theocratic fascism whose avowed aim is the slaughter of all Sunnis in the Middle East - the acquisition of the means that would accomplish that wish is not recognized as a right... now, the Iranians are sending their "graduate students" here - which is a disgrace we should not allow...


by: Anonymous
November 20, 2013 6:25 PM
Why your Chinese program online listening doesn't work now? Why is it suddenly cutoff when we just heard contents of the President Xi's family corruption. Is this kind of Chinese spy sabotage?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid