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.)
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid