News / Middle East

    Lew: Iran Economy Remains Distressed Amid Sanctions

    FILE - US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
    FILE - US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
    Reuters
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Iran's economy remained in a state of distress due to sanctions over its nuclear program and that the United States would not rush into making a bad deal to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
     
    Lew said that the temporary and reversible sanctions relief has been limited.
     
    “Iran is losing a significant amount in oil sales alone from the sanctions that remain in place, more than the value of the temporary relief,” Lew said in a speech in Jerusalem to the U.S.-Israel Joint Economic Development Group on Wednesday.
     
    “As we approach the last month of the agreed upon period for negotiations, Iran's economy remains in a state of distress that brought the government to the negotiating table in the first place,” he said.
     
    Such sustained pressure gives the United States the opportunity to pursue a negotiated agreement with Iran, in conjunction with its P5+1 partners, that will assure the international community that Iran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful, Lew said.
     
    “We will take the time to do this right, and we will not rush into a bad deal,” he said. “No deal is better than a bad deal.”
     
    Iran and six world powers re-launched talks on Tuesday to try to salvage a deal on its nuclear activity by a July deadline, striving to prevent a long-time standoff from descending into a wider Middle East war.
     
    Israel has been concerned that the powers have not done enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
     
    Israel also has voiced concern about the prospect of its closest ally, the United States, cooperating with what it considers its deadliest foe, Iran, to stave off a sectarian break-up of Iraq.
     
    Lew said the United States was concerned about the “grave situation” in Iraq.
     
    “As the president makes a decision on next steps, let me be clear that this is not primarily a military challenge,” he said, noting the United States has steadily increased security assistance to the Iraqi government over the past year,” he said.
     
    “While it is evident that Iraq needs significantly more help to break the momentum of extremist groups and bolster the capabilities of Iraqi security forces, there is no military solution that will solve Iraq's problems,” he continued.
     
    Any action the United States takes would have to be done in conjunction with a serious and sincere effort by Iraqi leaders to govern in a non-sectarian manner, promote stability and unity among a diverse population, build and invest in the capacity of security forces, and address the legitimate grievances of Sunni, Kurd, and Shia communities, Lew said.
     
    Lew also expressed optimism about the U.S. economic recovery, which is in its fifth year.
     
    “After a harsh winter that restrained growth in the first quarter, we are still expecting the underlying strength of the economy that was evident last year to result in a strong second half of this year, and economic data over the past three months supports that optimism,” he said.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora