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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs