News / Middle East

    Rouhani: Nuclear Talks at Tough Juncture, Deal Possible

    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani arrives to attend a news conference at a hotel after the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit, in Shanghai, May 22, 2014.
    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani arrives to attend a news conference at a hotel after the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit, in Shanghai, May 22, 2014.
    Reuters
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday talks over Tehran's nuclear program had reached an important and tough juncture, but an agreement was still possible by a July deadline.
              
    The lack of progress in talks in Vienna that ended last week between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany had raised doubts over the prospects for a breakthrough by the self-imposed July 20 deadline.
              
    “I think the negotiations have reached a very important and sensitive and tough juncture,” Rouhani told a news conference through an English interpreter. He was speaking in Shanghai, where he attended a regional summit this week and held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
              
    “We cannot expect it to be resolved in just a couple of meetings, but we are not pessimistic about the final agreement. We still have time. We can achieve this. We can even do it by the deadline,” Rouhani said.
              
    The six powers want Iran to agree to scale back uranium enrichment and other sensitive nuclear activity, and accept more rigorous U.N. inspections to deny it any capability to quickly produce atomic bombs.
              
    Tehran denies having any such underlying ambition, saying its nuclear program is for power generation and medical purposes only.
              
    An interim deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany was reached in November in Geneva, aimed at persuading Iran to curb parts of its nuclear work in return for a limited easing of sanctions.
              
    Rouhani said an early deal would benefit all but there was “no rush” to finalize the talks. If the deadline was not met, the interim agreement could be extended for another six months, he said.
              
    “The signs, the indications that we have been receiving in the past few days, are telling us that it is very likely that we can come to an agreement by the end of July,” he said.
              
    To reach a deal by the deadline will require goodwill on the part of the six countries opposite Iran at the negotiating table. In addition, “some certain countries behind the scenes who want to create problems” should not be given a chance to “sabotage” the talks, he said.
              
    He did explicitly specify which countries he was referring to.        
     
    After three months of mostly comparing expectations rather than negotiating compromises, the sides had intended to start drafting a final agreement in the Vienna talks that could end more than a decade of enmity and mistrust and dispel fears of a wider Middle East war.
              
    Elected in a landslide eleven months ago, Rouhani reversed the antagonistic stance of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, towards the West and led Iran into the talks about its nuclear program.
              
    “If we don't achieve success it means that the other side is very stubborn because my government is ready to be logical, is ready to interact with the rest of the world and cooperate with the rest of the world,” he said. “My policy is based on cooperation, not confrontation."

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora