News / Middle East

US, Allies, Consider Iranian Offer for Nuclear Talks

The reactor building of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant (File Photo)
The reactor building of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant (File Photo)

The State Department says the United States and other major powers are considering an Iranian offer to resume talks on its nuclear program. The negotiating process has been on hold since what U.S. officials say was a “disappointing” round of talks in Istanbul in January.

The State Department is confirming that the Iranian offer came in a letter Monday to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

But officials here are non-committal about whether the proposal will be accepted, and say the United States is consulting with others in the negotiations about the Iranian proposal.

In a long-running effort, the so-called P5 +1 grouping of world powers - Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany along with the United States - have offered Iran incentives to curb a uranium-enrichment program believed to be weapons-related. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful use.

At a news briefing, State Department Acting Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner declined to discuss specifics of the Iranian note, other than to say that P5 +1diplomats are studying its contents and considering next steps. “We obviously stand by the unified P5 +1 position that High Representative Ashton expressed in her letter after what we would consider the disappointing meetings in Istanbul - that we believe Iran should be prepared to negotiate seriously on the nuclear issue," he said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday in Istanbul his government has been ready for talks and that the nuclear issue could be resolved in a one-hour meeting. He reaffirmed Iran’s stand that it is legally entitled to enrichment technology for civilian purposes.

U.S. officials have said Iran can have a civil nuclear program, but only after satisfying the world community it is not seeking weapons.

In another development, the State Department said it has been told by Swiss diplomats who represent U.S. interests in Iran that Tehran officials have set May 11 as the new trial date for two American hikers held in Iran for nearly two years.

Iran has charged the two men, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, with espionage. But U.S. officials have denied any spying role and say they apparently strayed into Iran while hiking in northern Iraq in July of 2009.

U.S. spokesman Toner said it is time for Iran to free the Americans without conditions. “We urge Iran to resolve this case as soon as possible. Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer have been imprisoned for almost two years and it is time to reunite them with their families," he said.

A third hiker, Sarah Shourd, who is the fiancee of Shane Bauer, was released on $500,000 bail by Iran for health reasons last September and returned to the United States. She has said she will not return to Iran for the trial.

Amnesty International, in a statement Tuesday, called on Iran to end the “flawed” trial process and release the two Americans. The watchdog group said the Iranian justice system has “systematically failed” to observe international fair-trial standards in the case.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs