News / Europe

    US, Britain Move to Improve Iran Relations

    US Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, left, in London, Friday, June 13, 2014
    US Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague, left, in London, Friday, June 13, 2014
    Al Pessin
    Britain announced Tuesday it will re-open its embassy in Iran, three years after it was closed following an attack on the building by Iranian protesters.  The decision is the latest move by a Western nation to improve relations with Iran as the crisis in neighboring Iraq intensifies.

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague made the announcement in parliament.  

    “We will be reopening our embassy in Tehran.  Initially, this will be with a small diplomatic team.  But it is an important step forward in our bilateral relations with Iran,” he said.

    Hague said Iran will also likely reopen its embassy in London.

    The foreign secretary said Britain would use the increased diplomatic contact in part to press Iran to end what he called “its support for sectarian groups.”  That was an apparent reference to Iraq, where Iran supports the Shi'ite government and other groups that the West has accused of alienating Sunnis and fueling support for Sunni extremist groups.

    One of those groups, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, has taken control of several Iraqi cities during the past week, and has advanced to within 65 kilometers of Baghdad.

    The crisis has put Iran in the spotlight, and got this comment on Yahoo! News from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

    “We're open to discussions if there's something constructive that can be contributed by Iran, if Iran is prepared to do something that is going to respect the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq and the ability of the government to reform,” said Kerry.

    One result was a brief high-level meeting between senior U.S. and Iranian officials to discuss Iraq on Monday in Vienna, where the two countries are the key players in talks on the future of Iran’s nuclear program.  

    State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki noted that U.S. officials have spoken with Iran on other issues in recent years, including the situation in Afghanistan.  She characterized Monday’s meeting this way.

    “We’re not talking about coordinating any military action in Iraq with Iran. We would encourage Iran to push the Iraqis to act to address problems in a nonsectarian way,” said Psaki.

    But that has not been Iran’s policy so far.  It supported militant Shi'ite groups fighting U.S. and other international forces during Iraq’s civil war.  More recently, Iran has backed the increasingly sectarian Shi'ite Iraqi government.  

    At the Maplecroft risk assessment firm, analyst Torbjorn Soltvedt says the U.S. and British approaches to Iran show how concerned they are about the advance of the Sunni militants in Iraq.  But he says it carries considerable risks.

    “You could envision a situation where Sunni civilian populations could be killed in attacks carried out either by militias backed by Iran or even by Revolutionary Guard forces themselves.  In that kind of scenario, then the already bad sectarian tensions in Iraq could get even worse,” said Soltvedt.

    U.S. and British officials have stressed that they will urge Iran to take the opposite course, and push their Iraqi allies to moderate their sectarian tendencies.  

    But it is not clear whether Iran sees that as being in its interest.  Some analysts warn Iran might prefer the breakup of Iraq, with a militant Sunni entity in the west, the Kurdish enclave in the north, and a weakened government in Baghdad struggling to control the rest of the country.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: ranjan from: india
    June 17, 2014 1:07 PM
    They just want oil from that country thats y they are going there,
    In Response

    by: Anthony from: 626
    June 17, 2014 4:31 PM
    Typical reply " they just want oil" ,, haha

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora