News / Middle East

2014 Will Test Changes in Iran

2014 Will Test Changes in Irani
X
December 17, 2013 3:35 PM
2013 was a year of major changes for Iran, with the election of a more moderate president and agreement with the international community to limit its nuclear program. But experts say the real test for the extent of the changes will come in 2014, when Iran will be called on to make more, and more permanent, policy changes. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Al Pessin
The year 2013 saw major changes for Iran, with the election of a  more moderate president and agreement with the international community to limit its nuclear program. But experts say the real test for the extent of the changes will come in 2014, when Iran will be called on to make additional, more permanent, policy changes.  

It was a remarkable moment in November when the Iranian foreign minister and his counterparts from six world powers reached a preliminary agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program and to ease economic sanctions.  

It capped a year of dramatic change in Iran.
 
Just a year ago, then President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was still engaging in his harsh rhetoric against the West and refusing to hold substantive talks on the nuclear program, as mismanagement and economic sanctions crippled Iran’s economy.
 
Then, in June, Iranian voters elected a relative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, to replace him.  And just as significantly, Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, publicly backed Rouhani's new approach.
 
All that culminated in the nuclear accord in Geneva in November.    
 
“Well, I do see it as a dramatic difference, but I caution that we shouldn’t over-estimate what’s going on,” said retired U.S. diplomat Richard LeBaron, now at the Atlantic Council. "I think 2014 will be the key year in determining whether Iran is on a strategic change of course. But so far, I think it’s a tactical move.”
 
LeBaron predicts a resumption of the internal struggle between hardliners and moderates, as Iran is called on to make more concessions to reach a long-term nuclear accord.

At London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies, Mark Fitzpatrick says the coming months will focus on negotiations, not talk of war.
 
“If Iran’s nuclear program had not been at least capped, it was making progress that would have crossed Israel’s red lines, I think, by next summer, and we very well could have had a military option being exercised,” Fitzpatrick said.
 
Fitzpatrick and LeBaron both doubt Iranian leaders’ assurances that they have no interest in building a nuclear weapon. The experts say officials likely want to maintain the option for the future, while also getting sanctions eased to satisfy their people.

Fitzpatrick says it’s a question of how many restrictions Iran will accept, and how long it would take to develop a weapons if it decides to do so. “Will they accept as long of a lead time as the United States would want, in order to feel comfortable?  That’s going to be the tricky part in the discussions that are upcoming.”
 
Those talks have a six-month deadline that many experts say will be difficult to meet. Even incremental progress could ease concerns in the Middle East and in the West and might even open the possibility of cooperation on other issues, particularly Syria. But deadlock would likely recreate the tensions of recent years.

You May Like

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs