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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs