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

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.