News / Europe

    Iran, World Powers At Odds Over Nuclear Proposal

    Iran's representatives led by their top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili (R) take part in talks with top officials from the United States, Britain, France, EU, China, Germany and Russia on Iran's nuclear program in the Kazakh city of Almaty, April 5, 2013.
    Iran's representatives led by their top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili (R) take part in talks with top officials from the United States, Britain, France, EU, China, Germany and Russia on Iran's nuclear program in the Kazakh city of Almaty, April 5, 2013.
    Reuters
    World powers and Iran still appeared far apart on Friday in negotiations on Tehran's nuclear program that were aimed at calming tensions which could boil over into war.

    As talks got under way in Kazakhstan, the six nations: the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - sought a concrete response from Iran to their February offer to ease sanctions if it stops its most sensitive nuclear work.

    Iran's Nuclear Program

    2012

    January: IAEA confirms Iran is refining uranium to 20% fissile purity
    February: UN inspectors end talks in Tehran without inspecting disputed military site at Parchin
    April: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vows Iran will not surrender its nuclear rights
    May: UN inspectors report finding traces of significantly upgraded uranium at an Iranian site
    July: EU begins total ban on Iranian oil imports; US expands sanctions
    September: IAEA demands access to Parchin; Iran calls EU sanctions "irresponsible"
    December: IAEA says it made progress in talks with Iran; US imposes more sanctions.

    2013
    January: Iran says it will speed up nuclear fuel work
    February: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejects direct nuclear talks with the U.S.; Iran, world powers meet, agree to more talks.
    May: IAEA says Iran has expanded nuclear activity.
    September: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran will not seek weapons of mass destruction.  Iran and world powers agree to resume nuclear talks.
    October: Iran set to begin talks with five permanent members of U.N. Security Council and Germany
    Iranian negotiators said they had outlined their own "specific'' proposals, but a Western diplomat said they had still not responded clearly to the initiative from the big powers.

    The dissonant views suggested the two sides had not narrowed differences that have bedeviled a decade of on-off talks.

    "We are somewhat puzzled by the Iranians' characterization of what they presented at this morning's plenary,'' a Western diplomat said. "There has not yet been a clear and concrete response to the...proposal [from the six powers].''

    Iran's deputy negotiator Ali Bagheri did not say whether the offer was acceptable, but told reporters his side had made "specific proposals...for the start of a new round of cooperation''.

    "Naturally, the talks will continue today and, if necessary tomorrow, until the two sides exchange their views and until a new platform for cooperation is formed,'' he said after talks paused for Iranian negotiators to join Friday prayers at Almaty's main mosque.

    Click to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
    x
    Click to Enlarge
    Click to Enlarge
    The dispute centers on Iranian efforts to enrich uranium, which world powers suspect are part of a covert drive to achieve atom bomb capability. The U.N. Security Council has demanded that Iran stop the process, in several resolutions since 2006.

    Iran argues it has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes under international law and denies its nuclear work has military aims. It has refused to change course unless the big powers recognize its right to enrichment and lift sanctions.

    Stakes are high because Israel, widely assumed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, has threatened to bomb the Islamic Republic's atomic sites if diplomacy fails to rein in a foe which it sees as bent on its destruction.

    Chances for a quick breakthrough are seen as scant, with Iran not expected to make any major decisions on nuclear policy until after its presidential election in June.

    Western diplomats are hoping at least for serious discussion of their February proposal, under which Iran would have to close a nuclear facility and ship some enriched uranium stockpiles abroad in return for modest relief on sanctions on Iranian petrochemicals and trade in gold and other precious metals.

    Looming pain

    For years, Iran has resisted ever-harsher sanctions and pressure to retreat from a nuclear program that enjoys broad support amongst its fractious political leadership.

    Iran's chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said in a speech at Almaty University on the eve of the latest talks that their success hinged on "acceptance of the rights of Iran, particularly the right to enrichment''.

    The six nations, however, say this right only applies when nuclear work is carried out under sufficient oversight by U.N. inspectors, something Iran has refused to grant.

    For now, Iran may play for time, trying to keep diplomacy on track to avert new sanctions before the June election.

    Tehran's conversion of some its higher-grade uranium stockpile to nuclear reactor fuel may have bought time for diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute peacefully.

    But if talks fail to produce sufficient progress, Western governments are likely to impose yet more economic penalties, with the double aim of pressuring Tehran while seeking to persuade Israel to hold back from any military action.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, March 10, 2013.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, March 10, 2013.
    x
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, March 10, 2013.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, March 10, 2013.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting U.S. senators on Thursday that Tehran's nuclear work must be stopped.

    "We cannot allow a situation in which a regime that calls for our annihilation has the weapons of annihilation,'' he said.

    U.S. President Barack Obama sought to cool tempers during a trip to Israel in March, saying diplomacy was the best option, but he hinted at possible military action as a last resort.

    "The probable failure of this round [of talks] does not mean that [military] strikes are imminent or that diplomacy later this year has no chance,'' said Cliff Kupchan, Middle East director at the Eurasia consultancy. "Obama's recent trip reassured Israel that Washington holds a tough position.''

    In the best case scenario, Western diplomats say, this could give the sides time to iron out details of any future deal.

     "If Iran ... really engages in a negotiation, even if we all agreed today on the terms of an agreement, it would take time to put [it] together because this is a highly technical agreement,'' a senior U.S. official said before heading to Almaty.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    April 05, 2013 10:46 AM
    The pictures are very remenicent of the pictiures you see in 1939; the nazis smirking/laughing and having a good time, while Chaimberland looked very pensive. Soon, will see Ashton running around with a piece of paper showing how much was achieved = a big piece of paper worth nothing. This will turn out into another NKorea; back in the early 50's Gen MacArthur wanted to resolve the NKorean issue, he was fired by the then Pres... 60 yrs later, the can they kicked down the road is now a big can of mushrooms, and the NKorean regime has made it quite clear, that the US is their target.

    Iran is going the same way, but much worse, because NKorea has not maintained proxis, like Hezbollah, that have contiuously attacked Western citizens; and now Iran is involved in destabilizing many countries, like Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, other Gulf states, etc, as reported by multiple meadia sources, and even gvmt complaints. The sit with the negotiations is just a big farse... And given that NKorea and Iran are close collaborators, the nuclear situation is actually far worse than the most pesimistic assessment.

    by: Vinay Prasad from: India
    April 05, 2013 8:29 AM
    So the Iranians must have kept their western enemies well waiting due to their Friday prayers. So the actual meeting time must have been very less. Iranians are proving they are better negotiators than the rest of the crowd on the other side.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora