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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    
    by: Michael from: USA
    June 18, 2012 9:28 AM
    Iranian leaders must choose between practice of faith and pursuit of science. Science believes one event follows another with a 'first cause' not rational, hence eternal linear events. Faith in the Koran, however, puts forth faith as a higher and lower direction with all causes belonging to God alone. How can one person practice true faith and practice nuclear science at the same time?
    In Response

    by: Johnny from: USA
    June 18, 2012 11:09 AM
    From the question that you posted "How can one person practice true faith and practice nuclear science at the same time?" you are accusing all nuclear scientist that have walked the face of the earth as being athiest. That is a really bold statement. Should we take a survey and ask all the nuclear scientist if they believe in a god or not? I think the results would overwhelmingly dispute your thought process.

    by: JohnWV from: USA
    June 18, 2012 9:25 AM
    However did we get it all so backwards? As a signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty, Iran has the right to develop and implement nuclear technology. Israel rejected the NPT and has no such right. Yet, the Jewish state has ICBM nukes and openly threatens Iran; actually campaigns for war against Iran. Israel, not Iran, should be sanctioned and forced to reveal its nuclear machinations to IAEA inspection. However did we get it all so backwards?
    In Response

    by: Jim Andrews from: Munich, Germany
    June 18, 2012 3:51 PM
    Would you have a problem allowing nuclear technology to Nazi Germany if they signed an NPT when other peaceful nations had them? Probably not. You must think the world powers are stupid, insisting that a totalitarian, hegemonious, warmongering, proudly fanatic and threatening nation (like Iran), should have the same rights as a true democratic state. Because of the thinking of people like you, 90,000,000 people directly or indirectly lost their lives in WWII, due to the Nazis and Axis powers.
    In Response

    by: Geoff from: UK
    June 18, 2012 3:45 PM
    Simple America pays Israel three Billion dollars per year to pay AIPAC to buy, bribe threaten and assasinate western Politicians and Media to acheive and report whatever Israel wants. And Israel wants to keep on bullying and dividing and conqering the middle east while distracting the world from its continued attacks on Palestinians. Why don't China and Russia state that in the talks ?
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    June 18, 2012 1:21 PM
    Israel is a civilized people and does not need telling that human life is precious. Iran thinks nothing of human life and peace to it means no Israel, no non-believers in islam. Peace to Iran means sponsoring and financing terrorism to destroy all "infidels" who do not belong to islam, and those who do not practice Ahmadinejad's form of islam. Thus comparing Israel and Iran is like comparing light and darkness.
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    

    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.