News / Middle East

Sanctions Are Key Topic at Iran Talks

n this Nov. 9, 2013 photo, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, third left, meets with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, center, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, third right, at the Iran Nuclear talks in Genev
n this Nov. 9, 2013 photo, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, third left, meets with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, center, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, third right, at the Iran Nuclear talks in Genev
Sanctions against Iran - and whether to increase them or ease them - have become a crucial issue as major powers engage Iran in talks over its suspected nuclear weapons program.

With talks proceeding in Geneva, President Barack Obama has asked lawmakers to delay action on new sanctions to give diplomacy a chance.

After a White House meeting Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) said no new legislation will be put to a vote until after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Corker and other key leaders of the Senate’s banking, foreign relations, armed services and intelligence committees discussed the issue with Obama.

The sanctions were put in place to pressure Iran to end its uranium enrichment program, which can be used for civilian and military purposes. Tehran says it is not developing nuclear weapons but the United States and the European Union believe otherwise.

Sanctions hurt Iran

Analysts say there is no doubt that, over the past few years, economic sanctions imposed by Western countries and the United Nations have hurt Iran’s economy. Statistics indicate that inflation and unemployment have increased substantially while the value of the country’s currencythe rialhas plummeted. Revenue from oil sales has also decreased dramatically.

As negotiators from six major powers and Iran continue their talks, some U.S. senators are considering harsher sanctions on Iran if it does not curtail its uranium enrichment program. The House of Representatives passed legislation last July imposing stricter measures targeting, among other things, the financial and oil sectors.

The Senate is also expected to discuss the issue of tougher sanctions.

Whether or not to impose harsher sanctions on Iran has fueled a debate among politicians and analysts.

Call for harsher sanctions

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California) recently told other members of Congress he favors tougher action.

“Our sanctions program for the past three years is one of the very few things that our federal government is doing that works," Sherman said. "It’s one of the very few things that is bipartisan. That’s why we need to do more of it, not less.”

Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, also approved of stronger measures. He spoke during a Nov. 13 session of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives.

“Without new sanctions, American negotiators will likely never again have as much economic leverage over Tehran as they do right now. The impact of European and American sanctions on Iran is what helped to jump start these negotiations,” said Dubowitz. “The efficacy of sanctions depends on the threat of their escalation where an ever expanding web of restrictions keeps foreign firms from doing business with the regime.”

For its part, Iran is looking for substantial relief from crippling international sanctions. Western and Iranian negotiators are discussing ways for Tehran to curtail its uranium enrichment in exchange for easing sanctions.

Counterproductive?

Jim Walsh, an expert on Iran’s nuclear program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says additional U.S. sanctions at this time will be a grave mistake.

“It would cripple the ability of the new Iranian team to be able to say credibly to their constituencies back home, ‘Look, things are different, the U.S. is serious, we want to move forward.' I can’t think of a case where there were negotiations where in the middle of negotiations, you slap the other party,” said Walsh. “The hardliners, the principals in Iran are going to say, ‘Look, we told you so. This is all a ruse. They are not serious about negotiations, this is just about imposing sanctions.’”

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, says harsher sanctions now could make a deal with Iran much more difficult to achieve.

“If the U.S. Congress inserts itself into this process and passes additional sanctions legislation, they risk upsetting the process, ruining the chances for a deal and making the likelihood of a conflict with Iran over its nuclear program more likely," Kimball said, "and also extending the time it might take to negotiate a deal which would only enable the Iranians to further improve their nuclear capabilities.”

Andre de Nesnera

Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Marge Donnelly from: USA
November 20, 2013 5:58 PM
Pictured are that BOHEMIAN GROVE member, SCUMBAG, Kerry, and that PHONY, Catherine Ashton, all drinking their non fluoridated water, and non GMO foods. None of them got any of the vaccines either.

by: Stehling from: NYC
November 20, 2013 4:12 AM
Israel is adamant: 1. it will continue to build more illegal settlements on Palestinian land thereby ensuring a future war in which it will use its nuclear weapons and 2. It will continue to incite and provoke hatred against the 77 million people of Iran in order to maintain its own nuclear superiority.

Meanwhile, it refuses to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty, or the Chemical Weapons Treaty or the Biological Weapons Treaty. And that is why the state of Israel under this extremist right wing government constitutes the greatest threat to world peace this century. Meanwhile, its agenda is supported by the US AIPAC-led congress!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs