News / Middle East

US Nuclear Negotiator Calls for Pause in Iran Sanctions

US Nuclear Negotiator Calls for Pause in Iran Sanctionsi
X
October 25, 2013 4:01 PM
The top U.S. nuclear negotiator is calling for a pause in U.S. congressional efforts to impose sanctions on Iran, weeks after accusing Iran of being deceptive about its nuclear program. In an exclusive interview Friday with VOA's Persian service, U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said any push for additional U.S. sanctions should be delayed to see if nuclear talks can "gain traction."
US Nuclear Negotiator Calls for Pause in Iran Sanctions
Siamak Dehghanpour
The top U.S. nuclear negotiator is calling for a pause in U.S. congressional efforts to impose sanctions on Iran, weeks after accusing Iran of being deceptive about its nuclear program.

In an exclusive interview Friday with VOA's Persian service, U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said any push for additional U.S. sanctions should be delayed to see if nuclear talks can "gain traction."

She said Obama administration officials have been speaking with Senate and House lawmakers on delaying the sanctions.

"Congress has its prerogatives," she said. "We don’t get to control Congress, but we are having very serious discussions. We work as partners with Congress. They’ve been very effective partners as we’ve tried to approach this negotiation. We need them to continue to be effective partners to reach a successful conclusion, and I have trust that they will be.”

Congress has been seeking harsher sanctions on Iran over its questionable nuclear program. Iran says its program has peaceful aims. But the West and Israel believe Iran is developing nuclear weapon capability.

Watch related video by VOA's Jeff Seldin

Top US Negotiator: Time for 'Pause' on Iran Sanctionsi
X
October 25, 2013 10:12 PM
The top U.S. nuclear negotiator, in an interview with VOA's Persian service, said the time has come for a pause in sanctions against Iran. The comments from Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman follow what U.S. officials call the most substantive talks in years between Tehran and major world powers over Iran's disputed nuclear program. VOA's Jeff Seldin reports.

Iran has also been hit with several rounds of U.N. sanctions for refusing to end its uranium enrichment program. Low-enriched uranium can be used for civilian nuclear power plants, but highly-enriched uranium is an integral part of a nuclear bomb.  

U.S. and European Union sanctions imposed in 2011 have also slashed Iran's oil exports by more than one million barrels per day.

The most substantive talks in years between Tehran and Western powers began this month. But Sherman ignited a firestorm in Iran in early October when she said the U.S. had to be cautious about cutting a nuclear deal with Tehran because recent experience with the Iranians regarding their atomic program shows that "deception is part of the DNA."

In Friday's interview with VOA, Sherman said the remarks, made in testimony to a Senate committee on October 3, caused concern among the Iranian people and Iranian-Americans.

"I think those words spoke to some deep mistrust that President [Barack] Obama discussed, and that we have to really work to get over that mistrust," she said. "I think these nuclear negotiations will help us to do so. It will take time. As he said when you have decades of mistrust that go back to 1979 in the Iranian revolution. It’s going to take a little time to get past that. We both need to work at it."

Sherman's DNA comment angered Iranian hardliners and media outlets.

In a front-page editorial, a newspaper close to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iran to boycott nuclear talks with the West if Sherman is present. A cartoon published by Iran’s state-run Fars news agency depicts Sherman as a broom-riding witch.

Still, in her interview with VOA, Sherman gave no indication she will remove herself from the talks.

The sanctions comment elicited a comment from a U.S. expert. Middle East analyst Jim Phillips, with the Heritage Foundation, said, "If the U.S. or the other members of the Security Council ease up on Iran, then I think it will go back to its old policy of cheat and retreat, and there will not be a diplomatic solution to this problem."

Until this month's meetings in Geneva, talks on Iran's atomic program have appeared to make little progress in recent years.

But there have been signs of a thaw since the election of relative moderate Hassan Rouhani as Iran's president in June. He has promised to lead a diplomatic effort to get economic sanctions against Iran eased.

The Geneva talks between Iran and the P5+1 - five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany - ended with upbeat assessments from both sides.

More talks among the parties are set for November 7. The Geneva talks were the first since Mr. Rouhani was elected.

Also, President Obama and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani engaged in a short phone conversation on September 20, the first direct contact between the two countries' top leadership in more than three decades.

VOA's Mike Richman contributed to this report.

You May Like

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

What Happens When Americans Eat What They Tweet

You are what you tweet, according to new maps that show a correlation between obesity and tweeting about high-fat foods More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ajax Lessome from: US
October 29, 2013 2:04 AM
The international community has made it clear that Iran must cease all nuclear enrichment; remove its stockpiles of enriched uranium; dismantle its underground facilities; and, stop all work on its plutonium-producing heavy water reactor. Rather than complying, Rouhani is providing diplomatic cover. Since the June election, Iran has installed thousands of new centrifuges and just last month, the new president declared that Iran will not give up “one iota” of its nuclear rights. One has to wonder why Iran needs nuclear civilian energy when it has enough oil and gas to last for generations.Allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons will alter the balance of power in the Middle East.

by: david lulasa from: tambuaa,hamisi,vihiga
October 26, 2013 7:27 AM
assad and iran sanctions are to continue if their policies are still same concerning protesting syrians for the last two years.

lulasa...the president(USA)
tambua village,gimarakwa,hamisi,vihiga,kenya.

by: Anon from: DC
October 25, 2013 3:37 PM
Misleading headline. Sherman does not call for pause in existing sanctions, only NEW ones.

by: Saito from: Japan
October 25, 2013 12:55 PM
To Japanese people, Israel is such a fascinating topic of conversation and analysis. But what is so difficult for me to understand is why Israel spearheads the sanctions on Iran...?? Israel is very unlikely to be threatened by a nuclear Iran (we all know that Israel thermo-nuclear arsenal is comparable to that of the former Soviet Union - in numbers, that is; and in sophistication - far more advanced...) assuming Iranians are rational... they will never attack Israel or they will lose their society.

Here is the problem - the real targets of a nuclear Iran are the Golf Arab States and Saudi Arabia - definitely lets say not friends of Israel... so, why is Israel so upset with Iran??? you see - its like Turkey and Syria - Turkey would have been in deadly peril if Syria developed the nuclear bomb not Israel... so why did Israel destroy Syria nuclear bomb...??? Turkey should have been grateful to Israel - yet - Turkey stabbed Israel in the back... by promoting the cause of Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, and now Turkey is accommodating Al Qaida operations in Syria... and again, if you remember, Israel destroyed the nuclear capability of Iraq when Saddam wanted to nuke Iran... so you will think that the Iranians would be grateful to Israel... but not so.
look Israel, we love you in Japan, but why not let Saudi Arabia deal with Iran? they are thousands of times bigger than you and millions of times richer than you... let them deal with Iran.

can anyone help me understand...??
In Response

by: IsabellaG from: USA
October 25, 2013 4:50 PM
It's because the last President of Iran repeatedly made threatening and incendiary remarks in public stating that Israel should be wiped off the map.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs