News / Middle East

Top Diplomats to Meet on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Top Diplomats to Meet on Iran’s Nuclear Programi
X
September 25, 2013 11:34 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are scheduled to meet Thursday to start high-level negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. The talks at the United Nations are fueling cautious hope for progress after a decade of failed diplomacy. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports from Washington.
Meredith Buel
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are scheduled to meet Thursday to start high-level negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. The talks at the United Nations are fueling cautious hope for progress after a decade of failed diplomacy.

On Twitter this week, Iran’s new foreign minister, Zarif, said the opportunity to resolve the nuclear issue is historic. Zarif received his higher education in America and speaks fluent English. He will lead Iran’s nuclear talks with the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany.

He's been continuing the charm offensive launched by Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani. “Iran seeks constructive engagement with other countries based on mutual respect and common interest and within the same framework does not seek to increase tensions with the United States,” said Rouhani.

U.S. President Barack Obama says the diplomatic path must be tested. “Given President Rouhani’s stated commitment to reach an agreement, I am directing John Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government.”

Iran's economy, after multiple rounds of sanctions, is in serious trouble.

And that, said analyst Alex Vatanka, is spurring Iranian efforts to improve relations. “What I heard from President Obama, we have been hearing from President Rouhani and the Iranian supreme leader is that 'look, we are bleeding and you are tired of all the conflicts in the Middle East, we both have a reason, with whatever incentives we come to the table, we want a solution, let’s see if we can talk.'”  

Although hopes for a handshake between the top leaders did not materialize, American and Iranian diplomacy appears to have reached a new level, at least for now.

Mark Fitzpatrick is a top Iran watcher in London. “For the time being, the talk of war is off the table. I mean, it’s in the background. And, if diplomacy is not able to settle this problem by next summer, I think, unfortunately, the prospects for war will be back on the table.”

Despite the diplomacy, skeptics say actions will speak louder than words.

Analyst Matthew Levitt at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said, “Iran is reportedly increasing its support for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. It is doubling down in support of the Assad regime in Syria. And its proxy Hezbollah continues to try and carry out attacks on Israeli tourists around the world. So there is a disconnect between the words and the actions right now and we need to see them merge.”

Iran says it will never develop nuclear weapons - a pledge Western nations do not trust.

The stakes are high according to Iran analyst Patrick Clawson. “This is a moment of great hope, but also, frankly, a moment of considerable danger because if we don’t reach an agreement with Rouhani we will never reach an agreement with Iran. And it is still unclear if the terms that he will accept overlap with the terms that we will insist upon.”

A senior U.S. official says the steps taken by Iran in the weeks ahead will determine how successful diplomacy will be.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 26, 2013 8:09 AM
The issue here is not about coated speeches and meaningless innuendos, the real thing is what is coming out from the people seemingly in search of peace with neighbors. If Iran has increased its nefarious activities with Hamas and Hezbollah which the world knows as terrorists, then it's back to square 1. Beyond the smiling face of Rouhani at the world conference at the UN, other actions surrounding his visit leave much to be desired - he evaded a meeting with Obama citing flimsy excuses of food and drinks that Iranians don't take; and when Amanpour asked him to speak to Americans in English, he betrayed a foolhardy that shows that his touted western education avails nothing, he said he has not spoken an English word in 25 years - a sign that he is completely disconnected with the West and may not have a friend out there again. A good sign? So what's the sign that he will ever mean good?

But the sure thing to come out of these negotiations: the US has already betrayed a position of weakness that may make Iran negotiate from a stronger position. Since Obama seems to make it look like the US wants Iran more than Iran wants the US, and with the help of Russia reading and interpreting all actions to it, Iran may disappoint everyone at the end, for it has all the aces as it is. And when that happens, Obama will receive the kudos for betraying a feeling of American war-weariness that cheapens USA to the outside world. America may be war weary, but betraying it to the world detracts from a superpower status. Shows the difference between someone who thinks to himself to have what it takes to be an American president and someone who is goaded into it by his friends because he can make speeches. A lot more things will still go wrong while this regime persists until Americans learn to present candidates who have the political clout, not intellectual audacity of hope, as presidents and/or presidential materials.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs