News / Europe

No Nuclear Deal Yet; Iran Talks Extend to Third Day

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) returns to his hotel following his meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, in Geneva, Nov. 8, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) returns to his hotel following his meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, in Geneva, Nov. 8, 2013.
Al Pessin
Iranian and international negotiators will spend a third day negotiating the first steps toward reining in Tehran's nuclear program and easing harsh sanctions. Iran's foreign minister had raised expectations of a deal, and several Western foreign ministers, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, have rushed to join the talks.

Kerry interrupted a trip through the Middle East to fly to Geneva, where he sat down with key European foreign ministers and then held a long session with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.

Talks broke late Friday evening. A European Union spokesman called the talks “intense” and “good.” A senior State Department official said the meeting made progress, but there is still more work to do.

Elusive agreement

Even before the meetings, Kerry was lowering expectations. “There are still some very important issues on the table that are unresolved. It is important for those to be properly, thoroughly addressed. I want to emphasize there is not an agreement at this point in time.”

Recent Developments:

  • January:  IAEA confirms Iran is refining uranium to 20% fissile purity.
  • February:  UN inspectors end talks in Tehran without inspecting disputed military site at Parchin.
  • April:  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vows Iran will not surrender its nuclear rights.
  • May:  UN inspectors report they found find traces significantly upgraded uranium at an Iranian site.
  • July:  EU begins total ban on Iranian oil imports, US expands sanctions.
  • September:  IAEA demands access to Parchin, Iran calls EU sanctions "irresponsible."
  • December:  IAEA says it makes progress in talks with Iran. US imposes more sanctions.

  • January:  Iran says it will speed up nuclear fuel work.
  • February:  Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejects direct nuclear talks with the U.S. Iran and world powers meet, agree to more talks.
  • May:  IAEA says Iran has expanded nuclear activity.
  • September:  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran will not seek weapons of mass destruction. Iran and world powers agree to resume nuclear talks.
  • October:  Iran holds talks with five permanent members of U.N. Security Council and Germany, more talks are set for November.
Russia's foreign minister will be here on Saturday, and China is sending its deputy minister to the talks.

Officials are providing few details, but the stage appears to be set for a minister-level meeting of the six-nation United Nations contact group and Iran, either to formalize an agreement or to again try to resolve remaining disputes.

The six nations in the so-called P5+1 contact group are the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia - plus Germany.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney hinted at the outlines of a possible deal. "In exchange for concrete, verifiable measures to address the P5+1's concerns during the first step, the P5+1 would consider limited, targeted and reversible relief that does not affect our core sanctions architecture.”

Terms of deal

Officials have indicated Iran may at least temporarily stop enriching uranium to nearly the level needed to build weapons, but will maintain the ability to do so. Iran says it does not want a nuclear weapon. The U.N. Security Council wants limits on how close it can get, and inspections to prove it complies.

In an interview with NBC News, President Barack Obama stressed the need for Iran to begin to live up to what he called its international obligations on its nuclear program.

“We don't have to trust them. What we have to do is to make sure that there is a good deal in place from the perspective of us verifying what they're doing. And that they're actually moving in the right direction,” he said.

Late Friday, Obama briefed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the talks. Netanyahu earlier expressed his concerns, saying any agreement that allows Iran to maintain all of its enrichment capability is unacceptable.

“The deal that is being discussed in Geneva right now is a bad deal, it's a very bad deal. Iran gets everything that it wanted at this stage and it pays nothing,” said Netanyahu.

Diplomats here in Geneva stress that this accord, if it is reached, is only a first step, and that sanctions will be reimposed if it doesn't work out. The question is how much Iran will restrict its nuclear program at this stage, in return for how much relief from sanctions.

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Comment Sorting
by: Change Iran Now from: USA
November 09, 2013 10:38 PM
The Nuclear talks in Geneva must be built on proven steps to halt its nuclear weapons capability and not just promises. The US should not give Iran sanctions relief just because they say "Trust us." Also, The US must include human rights issues as a condition of sanctions relief. This is the point where the US has maximum leverage over a regime wanting a deal badly. The US must not give something away without gaining something in return.

by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
November 09, 2013 12:19 AM
A BBC investigative report says Saudi Arabia has a deal with Pakistan to instantly deliver several, perhaps dozens, of nukes the Saudis can load -- in minutes -- on advanced ballistic missiles they have at special bases they have built, and destroy Israel or Iran, or both, in a flash whenever the Wahhabi nation wants to assert its Sunni power and wealth.
The Saudi may already have several nuclear warheads in their possession, but just haven't bothered to announce it.
But America ignores this. Israel, one of the two major Saudi nuclear missile targets based on the way the launch bases are set up, also seems to ignore that the Saudi may be the worst Jewish nightmare, especially if the Wahhabi nukes strike first and the magnetic shock takes out Israeli military and civilian infrastructure before anybody, including the Americans, are able to do anything. America, of course, turns a half blind eye towards such developments, saying it simply can't happen because America says it can't. Hah.

by: Rod from: Australia
November 08, 2013 7:53 PM
Into day three of the talks - Iran is playing along the U.S. nicely.
In Response

by: Awac Maguen Yuol Ater. from: Rumbek in south sudan
November 08, 2013 11:36 PM
The world leaders should make sure that Iran uranium enrichment programs should stop immediately.
There is possibility that Iran is making weapons of mass destruction for possible aggression that would bring threat to world peace.Never stop negotiation with Iran government.

by: Stehling from: NYC
November 08, 2013 3:37 PM
You need to be sure, Mr Kerry, and when you have negotiated a satisfactory deal with Tehran, then your next stop must be Tel Aviv to in order to get a NUCLEAR WEAPONS FREE MIDDLE EAST as soon as possible. There is now some urgency if the US wishes to avoid a regional nuclear war that could well end in WW 3.

by: Deb Schuyler from: USA
November 08, 2013 9:59 AM
this Obama WH is unbelievable... he betrayed all of our friends in the world... he promoted the interests of our most vile enemies like the Egyptian MB and Iran, even Al Qaeda... he stabbed Israel in the back - Israel - who should have had her own star on Old Glory since her birth...
it is like the guy has no idea of history... 30 September 1938... all over again... you appease a malignant regime and you will live to regret it... how must the Saudis and the Arab Emirates feel..??
the Saudis even lavished Gold on this guy...

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 08, 2013 9:30 AM
Partial deal with Iran over its nuclear ambition is a timid deal. This stems from the timidity or immaturity at the top driving seat. America has showed lack luster leadership of the international community since the administration of Mr. Obama, but what about Britain and France? We already know Russia's and China's position in ever supporting rogue regimes wishing to possess weapons of mass destruction, either because they want something to help reduce their populations or carry out cleansing in areas that might attract international uproar when they did, otherwise it is unclear why they always have a date with such unwholesome relationships when terrorism resultant from it is worrying them too.

Stop uranium enrichment, stop process of nuclear warhead production, and someone says temporarily to stop these things and retain the ability to restart same - what a timid bargain! This presents the P5+1 negotiators as sham and irresponsible, and without objective. The same with the UN that has become nothing but a place of flexing of muscles and courting friendship only. Outside these, the body can no longer stand up to anything positive except to party, dine and wine. So let Israel, the only country in the line of Iran's fire, go into its drawing room and decide what it can do to keep itself safe, and maintain its national motto - NEVER AGAIN. The issue is even more thrifty now with troubles cooking from the Swiss can of worms about the death of Yasser Arafat, even though he could have been poisoned from internal sources owing to internal bickering between West Bank and Gaza. Never thought the Devil was born a native of Switzerland. Can't understand when Swiss forensic labs became better than those in France and Russia - only for the devil's purpose.

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