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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    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.