World News

US, China Agree Iran Must Respond to Nuclear Offer

The United States and China have agreed on the need for Tehran to respond positively to existing nuclear proposals by the major powers ahead of a meeting Thursday between Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany.

A U.S. official said both Washington and Beijing "believe that Iran should cooperate with the P5+1," referring to the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany.

World leaders from the group hold nuclear talks Thursday with Iran's top diplomat, amid signs Tehran is looking to negotiate a settlement over its controversial nuclear program.

Most analysts do not expect a breakthrough at the meeting, but diplomats hope to agree on a restart of the P5+1 nuclear talks, which were last held in April.

The meeting will mark the highest level interaction between Washington and Tehran in six years and will be one of the very few times senior officials from both countries have met since diplomatic ties were severed in 1980.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif will attend, as will foreign ministers from Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will host the talks.

The high-level discussions follow a proposal by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, addressing a U.N. General Assembly meeting on disarmament, for a comprehensive treaty banning all nuclear weapons.

Describing nuclear disarmament as Iran's "highest priority," Mr. Rouhani called for Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty and put its widely suspected nuclear arms under international control.

The Iranian leader told The Washington Post Wednesday he wants a deal on his country's nuclear program in three to six months, saying the "only way forward" is for a timeline to be inserted into the talks.

Dina Esfandiary with the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies told VOA such a timeline is unrealistic, given the obstacles to overcome.

"But having said that, the fact that he is pointing out such a short timeline is in itself quite positive, because it means the Iranians are going to willing to really throw everything they have at these negotiations."

Esfandiary said Mr. Rouhani's rapid timeframe for reaching a deal could reflect domestic pressure from those in Iran's government who are skeptical of improved relations with the West.

"It's likely the timeline has more to do with Rouhani's position inside Iran more than anything else, because that will be the time he has before the conservatives in Iran start to ask him questions about whether he has been able to deliver."

Though Iranian officials have made weeks of conciliatory gestures to the United States, it is unclear what, if any, concrete proposals the Iranian delegation is prepared to offer regarding its nuclear program.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs