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

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    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.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora