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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid