News / Middle East

Russia Worried by Lack of Progress Towards Iran Nuclear Talks

FILE - Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov speaks during a news briefing in Moscow, Dec. 15, 2008.)
FILE - Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov speaks during a news briefing in Moscow, Dec. 15, 2008.)
Reuters
Russia voiced concern on Thursday that no progress has been made towards organizing new talks between Iran and six world powers on Tehran's nuclear program, despite the election of a relative moderate as Iran's president.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said a diplomatic push had been launched to arrange a new round of talks after Hassan Rowhani was elected president on June 14 but made clear there had been no breakthrough.

“There is no agreement now on when and where the next round will be. That worries us,” Ryabkov told Interfax news agency. “After the election of the Iranian president, we stepped up work in preparation for a new round of talks but so far the work is not being done transparently.”

The last high-level talks between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany were held in the Kazakh city of Almaty in April.

They failed to end the deadlock in a decade-old dispute over Tehran's nuclear program, prolonging a stand-off that could yet spiral into a new Middle East war. Israel has long hinted at possible air strikes to deny its arch-foe any means to make a nuclear bomb.

At those talks, the six asked Iran to suspend its most sensitive uranium-enrichment work in return for modest relief from international sanctions, an offer Tehran did not accept.

Iran's President - elect Hasan Rowhani in Tehran, June 17, 2013.Iran's President - elect Hasan Rowhani in Tehran, June 17, 2013.
x
Iran's President - elect Hasan Rowhani in Tehran, June 17, 2013.
Iran's President - elect Hasan Rowhani in Tehran, June 17, 2013.
International hopes for a resolution of the nuclear dispute were boosted by the election of Rowhani because he has promised a more conciliatory approach to foreign relations than incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran says it is enriching uranium only to fuel a planned network of nuclear power stations, and for medical purposes.

But refined uranium also provides the fissile material for nuclear bombs if processed further, which the West fears may be Tehran's ultimate goal.

U.S. sets sights on ending standoff

A senior U.S. official on Wednesday said that Washington was “determined” to try to resolve the nuclear stand-off with Tehran diplomatically and urged Tehran to return to negotiations.

“The window for such a solution is open and we intend to pursue it,” Thomas Countryman, assistant secretary for International Security and Non-Proliferation, said. “We are willing to be optimistic about the possibility of a changed policy in Tehran but it needs to be expressed through actual negotiations and not simply with rhetorical statements.”

Tehran's team at nuclear talks with the six world powers has been led by Saeed Jalili, who was a rival election candidate, and is likely to be overhauled once Rowhani takes office in early August.

But Countryman cautioned against hopes that the new president would have the will and the power to shift Iran's nuclear policy.

“When he [Rowhani] does take office, we've got no reason to believe that it changes the fact that the unique authority for the nuclear weapons program in Iran rest with the supreme leader and not with the office of the president,” he said.

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech for the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, in Tehran, March 20, 2013.Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech for the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, in Tehran, March 20, 2013.
x
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech for the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, in Tehran, March 20, 2013.
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech for the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, in Tehran, March 20, 2013.
Iran's theocratic Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the West last week of being inflexible in negotiations and expressed a desire to resolve an issue which has led to ever tighter sanctions on Iran's oil sector and the wider economy.

New U.S. sanctions that came into effect on Monday target trade with Iran's shipping and automobile sectors, gold sales to Iran and handling of the Iranian currency, the rial, a further attempt to force Tehran to curb its nuclear activities.

World powers want Iran to halt its most sensitive enrichment to a fissile concentration of 20 percent and stop work at its underground Fordow plant. Iran refines uranium at Fordow to a level that is relatively close to the threshold needed for nuclear weapons.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid