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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
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.


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