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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

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.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid