News / USA

    Sanctions Relief Key to Iran Nuclear Talks

    Delegations from Iran, other countries at start of two days of closed-door nuclear talks, United Nations offices, Geneva, Oct. 15, 2013.
    Delegations from Iran, other countries at start of two days of closed-door nuclear talks, United Nations offices, Geneva, Oct. 15, 2013.
    As the most substantive dialogue in years unfolds between Tehran and world powers over its controversial nuclear program, Iran is pushing to have crippling international economic sanctions eased.
     
    The Obama administration is indicating some softening, with a chief U.S. official involved in the talks telling VOA recently that the time is coming for a pause in new sanctions.
     
    World powers are set to resume talks with Iranian representatives on November 7. The United States and the European Union believe Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran says its program is for peaceful, civilian purposes.
     
    In an effort to pressure Iran to end its uranium enrichment program, the United Nations Security Council has passed resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran. In addition, the United States and members of the European Union have imposed their own measures.
     
    Iranian demands
     
    Iran has increased its international politicking in recent weeks, saying in order for talks to advance, sanctions must be lifted. Analysts say the sanctions have hurt Iran’s economy and currency, driving up unemployment and inflation.
     
    But John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration, said there is no evidence the sanctions have affected Iran’s nuclear program.
     
    “We have to the contrary statements by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency [Yukiya Amano], by the Obama administration’s own Director of National Intelligence [James Clapper] earlier this year, that they don’t see any sign that the nuclear weapons program has been affected at all,” Bolton said.
     
    Over the years, Western nations and Iran have been engaged in negotiations on Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.
     
    Experts say one issue discussed recently was for Tehran to curtail its uranium enrichment program in exchange for easing Western economic and financial sanctions. But little progress was made.
     
    At a meeting in Geneva several weeks ago, however, both sides expressed optimism, calling the talks constructive.
     
    Analysts say the change in tone is due in large part to the election of Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s president — a man who favors engagement with the West.
     
    Harshness of sanctions debated
     
    As negotiations between Iran and Western powers continue, some U.S. senators are seeking harsher sanctions on Iran if it does not curtail its uranium enrichment program.
     
    But Jim Walsh, an expert on Iran’s nuclear program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says such action would be counterproductive.
     
    “It would be very unhelpful for Congress to pass new sanctions in the middle of negotiations," he said. "Imagine if Iran did the same: in the middle of negotiations, it suddenly started to expand its production of 20 percent [enriched uranium] or turned on its new, advanced centrifuges.
     
    “We would freak out — the U.S. side would freak out," he added. "They would say 'how can we negotiate with people when they are doing that?' The people who want to support sanctions ought to think about how Iranians will view that if they do the same thing to them.”
     
    Daryl Kimball, head of the Arms Control Association, a private research firm, said harsh measures against Iran can only go so far.
     
    “Iran, like any country, is a proud country," Kimball said. "The leaders are proud and the people are proud, and they are not going to capitulate to every demand, even if sanctions are toughened even further. There are limits to what these sanctions can do.”
     
    In a recent interview with VOA’s Persian News Network, Wendy Sherman, the chief U.S. negotiator in talks with Iran, called for a delay in any new sanctions, saying that she and others believe the current talks represent the best chance to resolve the nuclear issue.
     
    But Joel Rubin, an Iran expert with the Ploughshares Fund, a foundation specializing in nuclear policy, said U.S. President Barack Obama is taking a political risk.
     
    “It should not go unnoticed how much of a risk it has been for the Obama administration to continue to argue that a diplomatic solution is the best way forward," he said. "But not only is it a political risk, but it is also a political necessity and it’s a policy necessity.
     
    “President Obama can credibly argue that by engaging, he is testing Iran and he is creating a situation where you can point to American leadership through the use of words and pressure and economic tools that do achieve security objectives,”  Rubin said.


    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

    Video Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: PermReader
    November 03, 2013 11:35 AM
    Subtle headline: sanctions made Iran softer or its relief will make Iran softer.And the smiling auther is cunning: "there is the risk".
    Don`t fool us -there is not any risk for some months later Iran will posess the Bomb - the common aim is attained!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 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.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.