News / Middle East

Russia, West to Resume Iran Talks

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif (R) wait for the start of closed-door nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria, March 18, 2014.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif (R) wait for the start of closed-door nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria, March 18, 2014.
Al Pessin
Amid the Crimea controversy, Russian and Western negotiators sat together Tuesday in Vienna for the next round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program.  

While Russian President Vladimir Putin called on his parliament to annex Crimea, in defiance of Western warnings not to, senior Russian diplomats sat with American and other Western officials to work on the Iran nuclear issue.

The international negotiating team is made up of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, and is led by the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who has issued strong condemnations of Russia’s actions in Crimea.

But her spokesman, Michael Mann, says the Crimea controversy is not affecting the Iran talks.

"The great joy of these discussions so far is that the E3+3 [P5+1] has always remained united and that is still the case," he said. "I have not seen any negative effect at all. We will continue our good work in a unified fashion."

A senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had a similar assessment, saying all six countries representing the United Nations “remain completely united” and are “very cohesive” on the Iran nuclear issue. The official expressed the hope that “whatever happens in the days ahead” regarding Russia and Crimea “will not put these negotiations at risk.”

The aim of the Vienna talks is to reach a comprehensive agreement to guarantee Iran’s nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes, as Iran says it is. Many countries and experts believe Iran is developing the capability to build a nuclear bomb.

The talks follow on from an agreement reached in Geneva in November, which expires in July. U.N. and U.S. officials say Iran is fulfilling its commitments under that accord, including the dilution of its stockpile of near weapons-grade uranium to a safer level.  The United States and other countries have responded with limited relief from economic sanctions, as agreed.

The senior officials have been meeting monthly for several days, with lower-level technical specialists meeting more frequently. Experts say they do not expect any agreement until very close to the deadline, if one can be reached at all.  

Everyone involved emphasizes how difficult the issues are, including international demands for even more intrusive inspections and the dismantling of some Iranian nuclear facilities. The U.N. team also wants to discuss Iran’s missile program, which the Iranian negotiators say should not be part of these discussions.

EU spokesman Michael Mann says, “I would not like to make any predictions about how things are going to go because we have said all along that these are going to be very complicated and difficult negotiations.

"So, we will keep pushing on," he added. "The most important thing is that a deal is done that is a good, solid deal that everyone can live with and everyone is happy with. And clearly to do that as quickly as possible is also important. But it is the quality of the deal that counts.”

Earlier, the senior U.S. official declined to discuss specifics of the talks, but said they are “moving forward in a positive way” and that all parties are “intent on succeeding” before the deadline.

You May Like

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid