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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More