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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid