News / Middle East

US, Iranian Foreign Ministers to Meet in Geneva

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry steps aboard his aircraft,  Nov. 3, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry steps aboard his aircraft, Nov. 3, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is going to Geneva Friday to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of talks over Iran's nuclear program. The surprise meeting comes amid reported progress on limiting Iran's uranium enrichment in exchange for easing some of the sanctions imposed because of concerns about Tehran's atomic ambitions.

Kerry and Zarif will meet with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton at a time when an EU spokesman says the talks about Iran's nuclear program are entering "a serious phase."

When Kerry and Zarif first met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September, it was the highest-level talks between the United States and Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, and led to a telephone call between U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

A senior administration official traveling with Kerry says he is going to Geneva "in an effort to help narrow differences in negotiations."

A different senior U.S. official says the basic idea of those negotiations is to pause Iran's nuclear program, perhaps for six months, to provide time for talks on a longer-term agreement. In return, the official says, the international community would ease some sanctions.

Kerry is going to Switzerland from Israel, where he told President Shimon Peres Wednesday that "on Iran, our eyes are wide open."

"Our hope is that Iran will understand that this is a simple obligation: Show the world that you are pursuing a peaceful program. It’s not that hard. Lots of other nations do it. So we will remember our friends and their interests, and we will be very thoughtful and careful as we proceed," Kerry said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu questions Iran's sincerity, saying international pressure should be increased because he says Iran is increasing its uranium enrichment. Netanyahu wants Iran to be forced to close its plutonium reactor and fully dismantle what he says is its nuclear weapons program.

"If this is achieved, I’d welcome it. I’d be very worried of any partial deals that enable Iran to maintain those capabilities but begin to reduce sanctions," Netanyahu said.

Israel says it reserves the right to strike Iran militarily to prevent it from developing an atomic bomb. Kerry repeated the long-held U.S. vow that Washington will never allow Iran to have nuclear weapons.

Iran says it has no intention of developing such weapons. But parts of its program go beyond what experts say is needed for nuclear power and research, and that it could be only months away from producing enough highly enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb.

Zarif said last week that Iran's new government is working to dispel those concerns because "even a perception that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons is detrimental" to Iranian security.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid