News / Middle East

Iran Urged to 'Engage Seriously' in Nuclear Talks

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, left, and chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, right, meet in Moscow, June 18, 2012.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, left, and chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, right, meet in Moscow, June 18, 2012.
An EU spokesman says six world powers have begun talks with Iran in Moscow with an appeal for the Iranian side to "engage seriously" with an offer to resolve international concerns about the Iranian nuclear program.

Michael Mann said in a phone interview, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States) plus Germany hope Iran "finally" will negotiate on the proposals they made in the previous round of talks in Baghdad last month. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is representing the world powers in the talks, which resumed Monday in Moscow. The two sides have made little progress since an April meeting that ended a 15-month break in negotiations.

The world powers have been pressing Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent purity, a level that some see as a short-step from the higher purity needed for nuclear weapons. The six-nation group also has been calling for Iran to remove stockpiles of highly-enriched uranium from its territory and shut down an underground facility at Fordo that has been producing the material.

In return, the world powers have offered to send Iran nuclear fuel for its medical research reactor and badly-needed spare parts for its aviation industry. Iranian leaders have dismissed such offers in the past as insufficient.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a German newspaper that Iran may accept a compromise on enrichment. In excerpts of the interview published Monday on his website, Ahmadinejad said that if European nations provide Iran with 20 percent enriched fuel, his government is ready to stop enrichment to that level.

Iran says its enrichment work is for peaceful uses including electricity generation and medical research. But, Israel and Western powers accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian energy program.

An Iranian delegate in Moscow told Iran's state-run news agency IRNA that the new talks will fail if the world powers do not recognize what Tehran sees as its right to enrich uranium. The Iranian diplomat also said Iran will not agree to further negotiations unless the six-nation group accepts a five-point Iranian proposal offered in Baghdad.

EU spokesman Mann said the Iranian plan calls for discussing a broad range of issues far removed from the nuclear dispute. He said the six-nation group is "willing to respond" to the Iranian ideas but said they fall short of what he called the "concrete" proposals of the world powers.

"We haven't seen engagement on the Iranian side yet," Mann said. "We're not prepared to talk for the sake of talking, we need (the Iranians) to drive things forward. We know things aren't going to happen overnight but we can at least get some momentum going if the Iranians are prepared to engage on the proposals we made."

The Moscow talks are scheduled to end Tuesday, but Mann said the world powers are "ready to stay if there is something to talk about."

The United States and European Union have been increasing pressure on Iran to compromise by tightening unilateral sanctions targeting Iranian oil exports, a major source of the nation's income. A complete EU embargo on Iranian oil is set to begin on July 1, while Washington plans to launch sanctions on businesses dealing with Iran's oil industry several days earlier.

Russia hopes the new talks will achieve enough progress to lead to more negotiations and prevent a diplomatic failure that could lead to foreign military intervention in Iran, a longtime economic partner of Moscow.

Israel sees a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence and has hinted that it could strike Iranian nuclear sites within months to remove that threat. World powers have expressed concern that an escalation of the dispute into a regional war would trigger a jump in oil prices and depress the fragile global economy.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Josh from: USA
June 20, 2012 10:18 PM
The image of Iran as an "existential threat" is the main reason why the West can cut Israel so much 'moral' slack when it comes to her gratuitous expansionist policies. This carefully engineered portrayal of Israel as a lamb among ravenous wolves means the West can turn a blind eye to the illegal settlements and foot dragging on the Palestinian issue. It's all self-serving bluster that benefits the domestic (and "extra-domestic") policies of Israel and to an equal or maybe greater extent, the fear-based Middle Eastern hegemony of the US and her allies.

Equally, Iran's rebound rhetoric (which is actually far more benign than the overt warmongering of Israel) helps its government solidify its own tiny ideological core support and rally its shock troops against an external threat. The sad irony here is that the Iranian government is only a threat to its own population. The mullah regime is basically a mafia style operation that rules through enforcers such as the Basij and the Revolutionary guard. The majority of the Iranian population are savvy enough to recognize the rhetoric for the propoganda that it is; whereas the reverse is true for Israelis and the Western populations who buy the nonsense that's fed to them news-speak style.


by: JohnWV from: USA
June 20, 2012 12:43 PM
Iran is only Israel's current fixation. America's entire electoral system has been corrupted by Netanyahu's Israel, AIPAC, Israel Firsters and ingenious distribution of enormous amounts of Jewish money. Our representative democracy is nearly defeated and the destruction of America as we know it well underway. Termination of the criminal treachery and treason demands immediate priority. The Government of the United States must again serve American interests, not the Jewish state's relentless pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and apartheid supremacist empire in, and beyond, the Mideast.


by: Agnus from: Williams
June 20, 2012 12:17 PM
What a delightfully irrelevant distraction from the woes and impending collapse of the Euro zone!


by: Anonymous
June 20, 2012 12:17 AM
Iranian Government already deserves their hand smacked not just for their nuclear business, but because of their aiding Bashar in Syria. The Iranian Gov deserves a double smack... Too bad for the Iranian people they have a stupid dictator and government system, that is terrible. Too bad someone who cares about Iranians doesn't rule their country. Consider yourselves lucky that we haven't already distinguised your nuclear work.


by: Shorty from: USA
June 18, 2012 6:23 PM
Iran is killing thousands of our troops in Afgahnastan with IEDs, and threateans other nations on a consistant basis not to mention it suppress's and kills its own people. Yeah they should have nukes, sure, and if you dont believe they are trying to get them then good for you believing there baltant nonstop lies.


by: Sylvia Asyra from: Cairo, Egypt
June 18, 2012 4:03 PM
Iran is following the path of it's ally and arms supplier, North Korea. When NKorea were building a nuke program, the world did everything to stop them, including "stealing their kitchen sink", lol. As the NKoreans were already half starving to death, the West tried to deprive them 110%. With the same cycle of sanctions, threats, blockades and more sanctions etc. Yet the effort by the West was a total failure. NKorea developed nukes. Why does the "West" think that they can force Iran to capitulate? Iran has plenty of oil revenue , essential reserves and money in reserve. They are still selling a lot of oil. EVEN If you starved them to death, you won't hold them back. Remember it's name "The Islamic Republic of....". They won't stop, but will laugh in the face of the west until they get their weapons!!! The world will then descend into true darkness, g-d forbid. The world leaders at that time will be relegated to eternal infamy and disrespect for their failure to prevent Iran from succeeding. I'll be the happiest person in the universe if I'm proven WRONG!


by: Sam from: Iran
June 18, 2012 12:31 PM
Talks must be stopped. I don't understand why would we even want to talk with Americans if they don't have anything to offer? I'm not even Pro-Iranian government but West demands are illogical. Stop enrichment in exchange for civilian aircraft spare parts that shouldn't have been sanctioned in the first place? Iran has already stated that it is ready to halt enrichment of 20% uranium if it recieve relief from sanctions. If we are to ship out our stock of 20% uranium, dismantle Fordo and blah blah blah, it is logical to expect that we have to recieve someting in return? Otherwise there is no point in Talking. I think failure of the talks is the West intention.

In Response

by: Dr. D. from: Mesa AZ
June 18, 2012 3:07 PM
It is not Iran that controls the cost of Oil, it is the Oil Corporations that do! However, why can't Iran get a long with the rest of the World? I've met lot of people from Iran, and even have a close friend from there, and they all seem like wonderful people.
Uranium is a big pain in the Butt, just look at what happened to Japan less than a year ago.








by: Michael Schaeffer from: California
June 18, 2012 10:01 AM
And the world keeps turning, and Iran isnt going to fall off the planet and Iran is not going to negotiate. But at least we are not at war yet


by: AE from: Texas
June 18, 2012 9:38 AM
Could it be the other way around? The P5+1 should engage seriously by offering something substantive rather than used aircraft tires? If Obama wanted to solve this issue we would have done it by now.


by: Simba from: USA
June 18, 2012 9:34 AM
"Engage Seriously" = Comply with all our demands, legal or not, excessive or not, and don't ask us to recognize one iota of rights granted to you or inherently yours. Period. Oh, and we will punish countries that don't comply with American interests. So no doing business with others. There. Got it?

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid